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Short-Handed Chicago Bulls Dispatch Utah Jazz: A Fan’s Take
Quick: How many Chicago Bulls does it take to win a basketball game?
It took just nine Saturday night at the United Center in Chicago as the short-handed Bulls handily dispatched the Utah Jazz, 111-97, in a game that was short on drama and long on pregame injury reports.
With Joakim Noah (flu), Rip Hamilton (shoulder) and Luol Deng (wrist) sidelined, the Bulls were down to just two starters, forcing coach Tom Thibodeau to use his ninth different starting lineup of the season. The combination he chose - Derrick Rose-Ronnie Brewer-Kyle Korver-Carlos Boozer-Omer Asik - had logged just 12 minutes of floor time together this season.
It didn't make much difference, though, as the Bulls, after getting off to a slow start and trailing for most of the first stanza, took command early in the second quarter and never looked back. A 7-point halftime lead quickly blossomed into double digits after intermission, and the Bulls lead by as much as 23 points en route to the easy win.
Stepping up big for the Bulls, both in terms of production and minutes, were a trio of former Jazz players. Carlos Boozer played a season-high 41 minutes, scoring 27 points on 13-of-17 shooting from the field. Kyle Korver had 26 points and seven rebounds, hitting six of 11 treys, and also played a season high 39 minutes. And Ronnie Brewer tallied 11 points to go along with five rebounds and three assists.
Overall, the Bulls shot a satisfying 55.8 percent from the field, and tallied 31 assists on 43 baskets (they now lead the league in assists per game).
The Bulls improved to 34-9 on the season with the win, and have now played a franchise-record 74 straight games without losing two in a row.
Next up: The Bulls host the New York Knicks (Monday, March 12) and Miami Heat (Wednesday, March 14) in nationally televised games before closing out the current home stand with Portland (Friday, March 16) and Philadelphia (Saturday, March 17).
Notes: Rookie Jimmy Butler logged a career high 27 minutes, scoring 8 points to go along with five rebounds….. Rose now has eight or more assists in a career best seven straight games….. The Jazz played without starting guards Devin Harris (flu) and Raja Bell (undisclosed team matter).
YCN featured sports contributor Steve Merritt is - for better or worse - a lifelong Chicago Bulls, Bears and Cubs fan. He's followed the Bulls since 1969, when he tuned in after bedtime on a cheap dime store radio tucked under his pillow.
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