After winning 899 games, Utah coach Jerry Sloan has been around long enough to know when his team hasn’t given him a good effort.
The Jazz will try to snap a three-game losing streak and get Sloan his 900th career victory when they host the Portland Trail Blazers.
Utah missed a chance to help Sloan reach the milestone against the team he played for when it lost 95-79 to the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night.
The Jazz allowed the Bulls to shoot 53.2 percent from the field and were outrebounded 52-40. Sloan pulled all his starters two minutes into the fourth quarter, and only two Utah players scored in double figures.
“You go out and you think you’re going to have an easy game, and evidently we must have felt that because we never did get to them and guard them,” Sloan said.
All-Star Andrei Kirilenko finished with just eight points and four rebounds.
The three-game skid has dropped the Jazz below .500 for the second time this season. Utah will try to end its slump by continuing its recent success against Portland.
The Jazz won the only previous meeting this season, extending their winning streak over the Trail Blazers to four games. They have won six of the last eight meetings.
Portland built a 22-point lead in the first half and held on for a 101-97 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday. Zach Randolph had 19 points and 10 rebounds and Damon Stoudamire added 14 points and 11 assists.
The Blazers have won five of six. They also are 5-1 in their last six road games.
“We’re trying to get better and right ourselves for the playoffs,” Portland coach Maurice Cheeks said. “We’re still climbing and we’ve got a lot of work to do yet. We needed this win.”
The Blazers played the second half without Rasheed Wallace, who received two technical fouls and was ejected in the second quarter. It was his first ejection since the 2001-02 season.
STANDINGS (through Feb. 4): Trail Blazers - 4th place (tied), 12 1/2 GB, Pacific Division. Jazz - 7th place, 10 1/2 GB, Midwest Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Trail Blazers - Randolph, 21.4 ppg and 10.9 rpg; Stoudamire, 6.1 apg. Jazz - Harpring, 16.2 ppg; Ostertag, 8.5 rpg; Arroyo, 5.3 apg.
SEASON SERIES: Jazz, 1-0.
LAST MEETING: Oct. 29; Jazz, 99-92. At Salt Lake City, Arroyo had 18 points and 13 assists as the Jazz opened a season without Karl Malone or John Stockton in the starting lineup for the first time in 17 years.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Trail Blazers - 7-17 on the road; Jazz - 19-8 at home.