NBA Game Summary - Utah at Chicago
(Friday, January 7th)
Final Score: Chicago 84, Utah 78
Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Luol Deng scored 22 points, Eddy Curry added 21, and Chicago overcame a slow start to post an 84-78 victory over the slumping Utah Jazz at the United Center.
Kirk Hinrich compiled 12 points and nine assists for the Bulls, who trailed by 13 points in the first quarter before rallying for their second straight win and eight triumph in 11 games.
"We played pretty horrible in the first half, but we were able to get back in it and put ourselves into a good position for the second half," said Curry. "We're getting better. We're trying to play some good basketball here at home and really be a powerhouse in the East."
The Jazz, who have dropped eight in a row and 11 of 12, received 13 points each from Gordan Giricek and Matt Harpring. Mehmet Okur finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds in the loss.
Chicago held Utah's leading scorer, Carlos Boozer, to 11 points and just two in the second half. Boozer was averaging 20.1 points per game coming in.
"(The Bulls) did a good job tonight," Boozer remarked. "They just played great defense and took us out of what we were doing well in the first period."
The Jazz fought back from a 14-point deficit in the third quarter to tie the contest at 70-70 with six minutes to go, but Curry and Deng fueled a 9-0 run which put the Bulls ahead to stay.
Curry's three-point play with 5:45 remaining snapped the deadlock and later hit a pair of free throws to extend the lead to five. Deng capped the spurt with back-to-back baskets, including a 17-footer off a Hinrich feed which staked the hosts to a 79-70 advantage with 2:15 to play.
Chicago was up 82-76 in the waning stages before Carlos Arroyo sank two free throws with 18 seconds remaining to pull the Jazz within four. After Adrian Griffin missed a pair of shots from the charity stripe, Utah had an opportunity to further close the gap. However, Giricek's layup with 13 seconds on the clock was rejected by Tyson Chandler, which led to Antonio Davis' transition dunk which sealed the win.
Deng poured in 13 points during the third quarter and led the Bulls on a 15-1 flurry that turned a tie game into a 63-49 advantage late in the period. The rookie delivered 10 points during the run, including a bucket from beyond the arc which accounted for the 14-point bulge with 2:08 left.
Utah outscored Chicago 12-2 to begin the fourth quarter and get back in it. A three-pointer by Giricek followed by two made free throws by Curtis Borchardt drew the visitors even at 70-70 with six minutes remaining.
The Bulls made just 3-of-18 field goal attempts in the first quarter and were down 19-6 with 3:48 left in the period. Utah ended the opening stanza with a 22-12 lead.
"Our execution offensively was terrible," said Bulls head coach Scott Skiles of the first quarter. "We just missed shots. Defensively we were as poor as we have been in a while."
However, Chicago began the second quarter with a 14-4 run to draw even and opened up a four-point edge heading into the final minute of the first half. A Giricek jumper with 16 seconds left and Okur's three-pointer right before the buzzer sent Utah ahead 40-39 at the break.
Utah is now 4-17 when it scores under 100 points and 4-11 against Eastern Conference foes...Chicago has won the last three meetings between the teams, including a 101-99 decision in Salt Lake City on November 24. However, the Jazz have taken 11 of the last 15 in the series.
01/08 00:08:08 ET