Chicago at Utah
Time: 9 PM CT, NBA LP
Spread: UTA -11.5
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Utah Jazz have won two straight and six of its last 10, but at 22-21 it still trails the No. 8 L.A. Lakers by one full game in the Western Conference standings. It will host the Chicago Bulls as 11.5-point favorites at 9 PM (CT) on NBA League Pass. The over/under is set at 207.5 points according to NBA oddsmakers at bookmaker 5dimes.
The Utah Jazz is 22-21 on the season and has won four of its last five games. Utah still trails Denver by eight games in the division and is currently out of the playoff picture in the West. After Donovan Mitchell’s outstanding rookie season, many were expecting the Jazz to continue to rise in the West, but Mitchell has been mostly the same player, as the Jazz has been mostly the same team, albeit slightly worse than it was a year ago.
Mitchell is averaging 20.7 points per game, but he has shot just 41.4 percent from the field and just 31.6 percent from behind the arc. Rudy Gobert has seemingly maximized what offensive potential he had, and the center is averaging 14.7 points per game while serving as the Jazz’s defensive anchor. Ricky Rubio is still the same player he has been over his entire career: astoundingly average. The Jazz has a deep and strong rotation, but without Mitchell making a quantum leap over his outstanding rookie season, Utah has remained in mostly the same place it has been: Good, but not good enough, in the Western Conference.
Rookie Grayson Allen has provided precious little and appeared in just 17 games. Georges Niang has done close to nothing after looking like a potential star in the developmental league. Dante Exum never has blossomed and appears to be little more than a career backup with outstanding (yet deceiving flashes). It all goes back to Mitchell, and he is the one with the chance to make an ascent to a star-level player. Will he? Or will Utah remain in the limbo it appears to be after its strong 50-plus win season a year ago?
The Chicago Bulls are just 5-16 on the road where it takes on the league’s most dominant team tonight. Chicago has lost its past five games, and its last win came over a team just as desperate as it is (the Washington Wizards). The Bulls do have a few legitimate offensive stars but the defense has been a real issue for the team this year. Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen, and Jabari Parker are the team’s top three scorers, but none are good defensive talents. Kris Dunn is, but he is almost on an island considering the team’s next best player – key reserve Bobby Portis, is neither playing nor a good defender.
The Bulls are giving up 110.2 points per game, which would not look so bad if this was not the worst offensive team in the league. Chicago averages just 100.7 per game, which ranks last in the Association, and expectedly, it ranks No. 27 in assists given that its top scorers are mostly isolation-playing talents. There is precious little chemistry and even less defense on this Bulls team, and it has won less than a quarter of its games, as a result.