Bulls look to rebound against Jazz on CSN

Bulls look to rebound against Jazz on CSN
February 8, 2013, 12:45 pm
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Mark Strotman

On the heels of its worst loss and defensive performance of his tenure, Tom Thibodeau and the Chicago Bulls will look to rebound tonight in Utah when they have on the Jazz on Comcast SportsNet.

The Bulls were run out of Denver last night -- falling 128-96 behind Wilson Chandler's 24 points -- allowing the most points under Thibodeau, including 66 before halftime and another 37 in the third quarter. The loss came three days after they allowed 111 in Indiana, but prior to that game had allowed just 85.0 points per game the previous nine games. It won't get any easier in the up-tempo Western Conference, as the Bulls head to Utah for a meeting with Al Jefferson and the loaded Jazz frontcourt.

Tyrone Corbin's group has lost at home just once since January, going 10-1 at the EnergySolutions Arena since the calendar flipped to 2013. In that span they have averaged 99.4 points per game and have wins over Miami, Indiana and Milwaukee. In fact, the Jazz are 13-5 against the Eastern Conference, the fifth best record in the Western Conference, and are 19-5 at home, the seventh best mark in the NBA. They currently sit as the No. 7 seed in the West.

The Bulls' frontcourt is getting healthy at the perfect time for a date with Utah. Joakim Noah (plantar fascitis) returned to the lineup after missing the last three games -- though he played just 23 minutes, scoring two points and grabbing five rebounds. Carlos Boozer should also see increased minutes after returning from a hamstring injury that also cost him three games last week. Taj Gibson is back to the bench after averaging 14.8 points and 12.0 rebounds in four starts last week. He continues to be one of the top defenders off the bench in the league, and he should see plenty of minutes tonight in Utah.

The Jazz frontcourt is perhaps the most talented and deepest in the NBA, led by Al Jefferson (17.1 points, 9.6 rebounds) and Paul Millsap (14.9 points, 7.4 rebounds). Not to be forgotten are the two youngsters, Derrick Favors (9.4 points, 6.4 rebounds in 22 minutes) and Enes Kanter (6.3 points, 4.1 rebounds in 14 minutes). Always reliant on their forwards and centers, Corbin's group became more so when Mo Williams Williams broke his thumb in late December. Shooting guard Gordon Hayward (shoulder) has missed the last six games which has meant more run for free-agent acquisition Randy Foye, who is averaging 15.8 points and 3.8 assists in that span Hayward has been out.

But tonight's battle will be frontcourt vs. frontcourt, and after last night's dreadful performance the odds are Thibodeau's group won't have a second straight let down. See if the Bulls can get back on track on this West Coast road trip tonight in Utah. Tune into Comcast SportsNet for all your coverage, and get in on everything happening on social media with Bulls Pulse.