Jazz-Bulls Preview

The Associated Press

A visit from the winless Utah Jazz might be what the struggling Chicago Bulls need to get back on track.

Looking to avoid a third straight defeat, the Bulls try for a sixth consecutive victory over the Jazz on Friday night.

Even with Derrick Rose back from missing last season with a knee injury, Chicago (1-3) has yet to find a rhythm. The Bulls' only victory came by one point over New York on a late shot by Rose. They blew a 15-point halftime lead in a 107-104 loss at Philadelphia on Saturday, then were on the wrong end of a 12-2 fourth-quarter run during Wednesday's 97-80 loss at Indiana.

Chicago is averaging 90.3 points on 41.2 percent shooting and giving up 98.0 per game while mired in its worst start since going 1-6 in 2007-08. The Bulls didn't allow more than 92.9 points per contest in each of the previous three seasons under coach Tom Thibodeau.

"Everything has to get fixed," guard Kirk Hinrich told the Bulls' official website. "We're not getting any stops on defense and we're not in sync on offense. Things are not instinctive out there for us right now. We're second guessing everything we're doing. We're just not in sync, we're not sharp."

Rose is averaging 15.0 points and shooting 31.3 percent - well below his career marks of 20.9 and 46.2. He shot 5 of 9 and had 12 points in the first half Wednesday but went 1 of 6 in the final two quarters and finished with 17.

Teammate Carlos Boozer averaged 22.3 points on 27-of-41 shooting (65.9 percent) in the first three games but missed seven of 10 shots and scored six.

"It's frustrating," Rose said. "But we're pro athletes. It's just four games in. We can't let it get that frustrating. We know if we keep working hard like we're doing we're going to catch a rhythm soon."

There's a good chance it can happen against the Jazz (0-5), who are off to their worst start since losing the first 11 of their inaugural 1974-75 season in New Orleans.

Chicago won both meetings with Utah by a combined five points last season, but it will have Rose this time. He's averaged 24.6 points on 50.4 percent shooting and 7.3 assists in seven games against the Jazz.

Utah shot a season-high 46.3 percent but failed to score 90 points for the third time in four games during Wednesday's 97-87 loss at Boston. Gordon Hayward had 28 points, nine rebounds and five assists as the Jazz trailed by as many as 25 before closing within six in the fourth quarter.

Waiting for ninth overall pick Trey Burke (finger) and veteran forward Marvin Williams (Achilles) to make their season debuts, the Jazz were outscored 27-8 in the second quarter and committed at least 20 turnovers for the fourth time.

"It's a long year," coach Tyrone Corbin said. "We're in a bad stretch right now, losing five games in a row. You've got two more tough ones on this (four-game) road trip and you're still short-handed. But you know what, nobody's going to feel sorry for us."

Hayward has scored 50 points on 20-of-36 shooting in the past two games, but he totaled 15 and went 5 of 12 from the field while playing significant minutes in his last two against the Bulls.

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