PREVIEW: Utah Jazz need to beat Chicago Bulls for winning road trip

Mar 12, 2021; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson (00) shoots against Houston Rockets guard David Nwaba (2) in the third quarter at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Jazz will wrap up a five-game road trip when they visit the Chicago Bulls on Monday night.

Utah has gone 2-2 on the trip, which most recently included a three-point win over the Toronto Raptors on Friday night. The Jazz became the first team in the NBA to win 30 games this season.

Donovan Mitchell had 31 points, five rebounds and six assists for Utah. Joe Ingles added 19 points off the bench, and Rudy Gobert finished with 15 points and 16 rebounds.

Veteran guard Jordan Clarkson is averaging 17.6 points off the bench for the Jazz this season. He said the team needed to stay focused while playing away from home.

“Try to keep stringing these wins together,” Clarkson said. “We know we can handle our business at home. On the road, we just have to focus and do all the small things that help us win.”

The next test will come against Chicago, which is looking for its second win in as many nights. The Bulls pulled away for a 100-86 win over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday night.

Zach LaVine scored 18 points to lead a balanced attack for the Bulls, who also received 16 points from Lauri Markkanen and 10 from Patrick Williams. Ryan Arcidiacono and Denzel Valentine added nine apiece off the bench.

The Bulls snapped a two-game skid and won for only the fourth time in the past 10 games.

Chicago’s sub-.500 record could turn the team into a seller at the trade deadline. The Bulls have several players that could be attractive on the trade market including Thaddeus Young, Tomas Satoransky or Markkanen.

Bulls first-year coach Billy Donovan has taken a measured approach toward this week’s rumor mill.

“I’ve always believed you’ve got to be honest and truthful in those kinds of things,” Donovan said. “They are most of the time rumors and speculation. … You look at different things that these guys are dealing with right now, from the constant testing, to the condensed schedule. And now you’re coming up on a trade deadline. And it’s so easy to start to think and wonder and hear certain things.

“I’ve told them (team executive vice president Arturas Karnisovas) is a straight-up, honest, really, really good person. If you’ve got a concern, just go to him. And just ask him flat-out. … He’ll give them exactly what’s going on. I respect that part about him, and I think Arturas wants that from the players as well.”

This is the first meeting of the season between the Bulls and Jazz.

Last season, the teams met once, with the Jazz holding on for a 102-98 win on Jan. 2, 2020. Gobert had a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds, while Mitchell scored 17 points despite 6-for-14 shooting.

LaVine scored a game-high 26 points for the Bulls despite shooting 9 of 26 overall and 3 of 11 from 3-point range. Wendell Carter Jr. provided 18 points and 13 rebounds.

–Field Level Media