The Bulls returned home after a two-game back-to-back to face former Bulls Lauri Markkanen and the Utah Jazz. They took this one, 128-110.
Here are 10 observations from the game:
--- The Bulls have been banged up recently. But when the game starts, they pull it together. That rang true on Monday, as the Bulls played a fully healthy lineup. Ayo Dosunmu, who missed the last two games (illness), made his return to the team against the Jazz.
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--- Quickly, the Bulls found their rhythm from beyond the arc. They shot 6-of-9 from downtown in the first quarter. They finished 10-of-21 for the first half, good for 47.6% from behind the arc. The Jazz shot 10-of-40 in the first half from downtown. The Bulls finished shooting 52.9% and the Jazz 37.5%.
--- Jevon Carter provided Jevon Carter minutes in the first half. He hit three 3-point shots and added two steals to his early stat sheet. More on him in the next bullet point.
--- Upon Dosunmu's return to the floor, he forced the question --- how will Billy Donovan spread the minutes between Dosunmu, Carter and Coby White? He answered that in the first half. White dominated, playing 16 minutes. Carter played eight minutes, Dosunmu six. Here's how it finished: White (29), Carter (17), Dosunmu (16).
--- Andre Drummond reached the career 10,000-rebound mark in the second quarter. This was fitting, considering he notched five rebounds in the first half from eight minutes on the floor. Oh, did I mention they were ALL offensive rebounds? He earned a quick eight points from them. He finished with 12 points and 7 rebounds.
--- Lauri Markkanen, expectedly, became the center of attention for the Bulls on the defensive end. The former Bull put up 14 points in the first half off 4-of-6 shooting and two perfect trips from the line. The Jazz run a lot of action to try and get him open from beyond the arc. And when the Bulls force him to dish the rock, he does, as he turned those possessions into three early assists.
--- The real reason the Bulls led the Jazz 66-52 in the first half? Turnovers. The Jazz turned the ball over 15 times to the Bulls' squeaky clean four giveaways (23-8, by the end). The Bulls notched nine steals and three blocks in the first half alone, reminiscent of some solid defense. Remember, the Bulls similarly produced some top-tier defense against the Nuggets, last game, in the first half. Can they keep it up this time in the second half?
--- The bench provided terrific offensive help, totaling 52 points. Williams (10), Drummond (12), Carter (12), Caruso (10), Dosunmu (8) were the driving force of the game.
---- The Patrick Williams bench experiment underwent its third trial on Monday night. For a second time, in my opinion, it worked. He scored 10 points and notched three rebounds in 23 bench minutes.
--- To answer the question from point No. 7, they kept it up. Outside of Markkanen (29 points), the Jazz' key players were quiet. Jordan Clarkson (7 points), John Collins (14 points) and Walker Kessler (15 points) couldn't get much done offensively.
The Bulls moved past their "get right" game against a struggling Jazz team. Their Monday night win marked the end of their three-game losing skid. Now, they'll get a step up from that with a struggling Phoenix Suns team that is riddled with injury.
Bradley Beal didn't play on Sunday and Devin Booker is already unlikely to play against the Bulls on Wednesday.
Can the Bulls capitalize on the momentum? Tune in on Wednesday.