Observations: Markkanen fades, Gobert reigns in Jazz rout


The Bulls (19-23) are back on the schneid with a resounding 120-95 home loss to the Utah Jazz (31-11).

Here are 12 observations:

1. The Bulls got off to another solid start, even scoring their first 8 points in the paint on 4-for-4 shooting despite Rudy Gobert's presence. At the 3:01 mark of the first quarter, the Bulls led the Jazz 23-20 and had held the visitors to 6-for-18 shooting.

2. That's when the trouble began. Zach LaVine, who scored 8 points in nine first-quarter minutes, checked out and the Jazz proceeded to rip a 19-0 run to pull ahead 39-23. LaVine re-entered at the 8:09 mark of the second with the Bulls down 39-25.

3. In those roughly seven minutes, the Bulls missed 13 of their 14 shot attempts with mostly reserves on the floor (Donovan started the second with Coby White, Ryan Arcidiacono, Denzel Valentine and Luke Kornet). It reveals a bit of imbalance between the Bulls' starting and reserve units, who were conversely impacted by Tomáš Satoranský and Thad Young's promotion to the starting lineup.

4. Utah won the bench-points battle 43-27 behind 33 combined points from Jordan Clarkson (16) and Joe Ingles (17). And that Bulls total was padded in garbage time.

5. The Bulls held level from there to trail 56-42 at halftime. In a game they trailed by 14 points, LaVine (+3), Thad Young (+3), Patrick Williams (+3) and Satoranský (+1) all had positive plus-minuses, while the reserves contributed to Markkanen's -4. LaVine (13 points, 3-for-5 from 3-point range) and Young (10 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists) were especially productive.


6. The Jazz were led by Donovan Mitchell, who scored 21 points in the first two quarters and hit four 3-pointers. He finished with a smooth 30 points, 6 assists and 6 rebounds, shooting 5-for-8 from 3-point range.

7. The Jazz opened the third quarter on a 10-3 run for Jazz to pull ahead 66-45 before the Bulls' first timeout and hardly looked back. They shot 56.5 percent in the period (5-for-10 from 3-point range) and led 89-71 entering the fourth. in first 3:08. The Bulls pulled within 14 early in the fourth, but never drew closer.

8. Markkanen made his first bucket, an impressive drive and finish over Gobert. Then, he missed his next nine shots -- seven from 2-point range and two from 3. He checked out at the 8:07 mark of the third quarter and didn't return until the 7:21 mark of the fourth -- nearly a 13-minute spell on the sidelines -- with the Bulls trailing by 20 points.

A mop-up time spurt pushed Markkanen's line to 8 points and 7 rebounds (3-for-12 shooting) for the evening. Still, he logged a season-low 19 minutes, excluding games he left early due to injury. He is now averaging 11 points and shooting 35.4 percent (7-for-23 from 3-point range) in his last four games.

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9. The Jazz entered play 6-6 in their last 12 games, but with the best record (30-11) and net rating (+7.6) in the NBA. Their seventh-rated  defensive certainly stifled, holding the Bulls to 40.6 percent shooting, 6-for-26 from behind the arc.

10. Gobert, as usual, was instrumental on that end. He blocked a career-high 9 shots and notched 21 points and 10 rebounds as the Bulls shot 31-for-59 (52.5 percent) in the paint.

11. The Bulls move to 3-16 against teams at or above .500 at time of contest. 16-7 against the other guys. 

12. Bright spot: Joakim Noah was in the house. The Bulls played a tribute video, presumably to celebrate Noah's retirement from basketball earlier this month, between the first and second quarter breaks. Noah sat with Michael Reinsdorf in his halfcourt-line box and watched on as memorable moments from his Bulls career flashed to the tune of Chance The Rapper's "Finish Line."

And yes, the scene was a tad eerie with no fans in the building.

Next up for the Bulls: Home for the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday, one night before the March 25 trade deadline.

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