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Chicago Bulls vs. Utah Jazz: Preview & Predictions For The Nov. 28 Showdown at Vivint Arena

Inconsistent Bulls Trying To Regain 2021-22 Form With Tough Schedule Ahead

The Chicago Bulls and Utah Jazz will square off at Vivint Arena next week for the first of two 2022-23 regular season meetings.

This matchup is sure to bring back some fun memories for the nostalgic crowd. Michael Jordan’s dynastic Bulls defeated the Karl Malone and John Stockton-led Jazz in the 1997 and 1998 NBA Finals to complete a second three-peat in the ‘90s decade.

Neither organization has reached the NBA Finals since Jordan hit the iconic game-winner over Bryon Russell in the waning seconds of Game 6 to clinch Chicago’s sixth championship. That turned out to be the final shot of Jordan’s career with the Bulls, as he entered retirement for a second time before returning in the 2001-02 campaign— his first of two seasons with the Washington Wizards.

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Chicago was one of the biggest surprises of 2021-22, finishing with 46 wins to finish as the No. 6 seed in the East. But they’ve struggled with consistency through the first month of the season, as a four-game losing streak (Nov. 9 to Nov. 18) dropped them to four games below .500.

The Bulls reminded the league how dangerous they can be, however, by defeating the NBA’s top team in the Boston Celtics 121-107 on Nov. 21. That was Chicago’s second win of the young season against the defending Eastern Conference Champions, so we know they can hang with the top clubs.

Time will tell if they’re able to build off that convincing win and move up the standings.


Jazz Continue To Surprise The League

After another early playoff exit, the Jazz decided to rebuild by dealing away franchise superstars Rudy Gobert (traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves) and Donovan Mitchell (sent to the Cleveland Cavaliers). 

Quin Snyder, one of the most successful coaches in franchise history, left the organization following eight years on the job. The Jazz were widely expected to be prime contenders for the top selection in the 2023 draft, but instead, they’ve been the NBA’s top surprise team up to this point.

34-year-old head coach Will Hardy has maximized the talents of veteran forward Lauri Markkanen and guards Jordan Clarkson, Malik Beasley and Collin Sexton. 

A stingy defense, led by a three-time Defensive Player of the Year award winner in Gobert, was Utah’s identity under Snyder. But thus far in 2022-23, a prolific offense with sufficient scoring depth has powered Utah to its hot start.

Is it sustainable? Probably not. And top Western Conference heavyweights like the Golden State Warriors, Memphis Grizzlies, Denver Nuggets and Dallas Mavericks haven’t fully hit their stride yet.

But the fact the Jazz are already among the top teams in the West, after trading away its two franchise cornerstone players, is nothing short of incredible. Gobert, Mitchell and Snyder may be gone, but the winning foundation that those three installed in Salt Lake City hasn’t gone away. 

Simply making the postseason would make for a successful year in Utah.


Prediction: Jazz Will Beat Bulls 110-102

While offense has been Utah’s strength this year, the Bulls have been carried by a borderline top-10 defense. 

Veteran stalwarts DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine are still driving the offense, but Chicago’s scoring depth doesn’t match up with that of the Jazz. And depth is often the difference in a showdown between two practically evenly matched teams.

And while the Bulls have been one of the worst road teams in the early stages of 2022-23, Vivint Arena has once again proven to be a major disadvantage for visitors. Utah has been a far better team at home, so there’s another reason to believe they’ll ultimately emerge victorious here.

DeRozan and LaVine will do their parts in keeping this game close, but Utah’s superior offense will be too much for Chicago to overcome. The Jazz will pull away with a 110-102 victory on home court to keep the momentum going.

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