The Bulls are looking to extend their winning streak to four games tonight as they are preparing to take on the Utah Jazz for the 1st time on the young NBA season. This will be the 2nd of 6 games away from the United Center for the Bulls who are on their annual Circus trip.
The Bulls have played fairly well over the last week, and these are the key things the Bulls need to do to keep their streak going against a team that many don’t anticipate will do much in the loaded Western Conference.
Rebound. Rebound. Rebound.
The Bulls are coming off of their 113-88 beat down of the Portland Trailblazers on Tuesday night. It was a game where the Bulls put on a clinic on both sides of the ball. Out of everything the Bulls did right in that game, the thing that stuck out to me the most was the disparity in the rebound column. The Bulls outrebounded the Blazers 67-49, and currently lead the league in rebounds by pulling down nearly 50 per game. With Utah Jazz big man Derrick Favors not expected to play tonight since he is battling knee soreness, I expect the Bulls to continue their glass cleaning ways.
Attack the Basket
In relation to what was mentioned in #3, Derrick Favors is unlikely to play. With that, Boris Diaw is likely to get the start alongside Rudy Gobert in his place. The Utah Jazz have committed around 20 personal fouls per game, and nearly 22 per game at home this season. On the other end of the spectrum, the Bulls have knocked down their free throws at a 83% clip for the season and have been staring down 90% from the charity stripe over the course of this win streak. So, hopefully they can exploit the glaring holes in the Jazz defense and make a home at the line.
Stop Gordon Hayward
Gordon Hayward was a star in the 69 games he played for the Butler Bulldogs in college. Gordon Hayward has been on the doorstep of an All-Star selection in the short time he has been in the association. He has only played in 6 games so far this season due to a broken finger he suffered back in October, but he is making up for lost time. He leads the team in points (22.5) is near perfect from the free throw line (97.3%) and is shooting over 40% from the field in just a small sample size of games. It’ll be up to Jimmy Butler and everyone else to keep the rising star in check tonight if the Bulls want to be victorious.