Bulls 111, Jazz 97
No matter how many players they're missing, the Chicago Bulls keep insisting they never feel short-handed. Nights like this, it's easy to see why.
Derrick Rose had 24 points and 13 assists, Carlos Boozer scored 27 points and Chicago pounded the Utah Jazz 111-97 on Saturday night.
Kyle Korver scored a season-high 26 points, and the Bulls got back to winning after their longest run of the season ended at eight games with a loss to Orlando on Thursday night. They turned a seven-point halftime lead into a 16-point advantage going into the fourth quarter and came away with a lopsided victory on a night when both teams were short-handed.
''We try to find a new way to answer this question every day,'' Korver said. ''This is what we've been doing.''
The Bulls were missing All-Star Luol Deng, who was out because of pain brought on by a torn ligament in his left wrist. Joakim Noah sat out with an illness, and guards Richard Hamilton (right shoulder injury) and C.J. Watson remained sidelined.
The Jazz were without starting guards Devin Harris (stomach virus) and Raja Bell, who was away from the team for unspecified reasons. Coach Tyrone Corbin called it ''an internal matter'' that he expects to be resolved soon.
Utah had no answer for the Bulls, though.
''They're just a better basketball team,'' Millsap said. ''Their defensive philosophy, they get at it, they stick to what they do. Offensively, they set screens for each other, help each other out. Things we want to get to for the future.''
Rose perked up after a slow start and Boozer and Korver dominated their former team, leading Chicago to an easy win. The Bulls still haven't dropped back-to-back games this season, and that wasn't about to change on a night when they shot just under 56 percent.
Boozer made 13 of 17 shots. Korver was on target, too, nailing 6 of 11 3-pointers, and had seven rebounds and six assists in his best game of the season.
''I missed five 3s; it's not like I shot that great,'' Korver deadpanned.
Actually, it was a big improvement over his performance against the Magic, when he was 1 of 7 on 3-pointers and 3 of 10 overall while scoring nine.
''In a very good way, he has a short memory,'' coach Tom Thibodeau said. ''He always thinks the next one is going in. That's good.''
Corbin called Korver ''one of the best at knowing who he is'' and added: ''That's why we loved him so much when we had him here. He will come down and make timely shots for you.''
Paul Millsap led Utah with 26 points. Al Jefferson had 16, and Josh Howard added 15, but the Jazz simply were overwhelmed, losing for the second time in two nights.
Rose scored seven points over the final 3:24 of the first half to help the Bulls build a 48-41 lead after Utah pulled within two at 39-37, and Chicago dominated the rest of the way.
The Bulls scored 31 points in the third quarter, hit 12 of 15 shots and led by 18 in the final minute of the period.
The crowd was roaring after John Lucas III stole the ball from Jamaal Tinsley and fed Taj Gibson for a hard two-handed dunk. Ronnie Brewer then stole a pass from Jefferson and hit two free throws to make it 79-61 with 12.8 seconds left, before Tinsley made a short turnaround jumper.
''They did it on offense, they did a great job in their halfcourt sets, you take one thing away they went to the next thing,'' Corbin said. ''They made perimeter shots, they got some inside baskets on us. That third quarter for them to go 12 for (15) in that quarter is difficult to overcome.''
NOTES: Asked before the game if Bell's situation would be a distraction, Corbin said: ''No distraction, no. I wouldn't expect so. We've got the Bulls, and that's enough distraction for everybody.'' ... Utah was 0 for 3 on 3-pointers while the Bulls hit 7 of 18. ... Watson appears close to returning for Chicago after missing his fourth straight game. ''He did some running, some shooting today,'' Thibodeau said. ''The swelling's down. We'll see where he is (Sunday).'' ... Thibodeau said afterward that Noah's fever was gone and that he seemed to be feeling better.