LaVine, DeRozan team to help Bulls beat Jazz, 126-118
By MARK GONZALES
CHICAGO (AP) Zach LaVine made three consecutive 3-pointers during a key fourth-quarter stretch and scored 36 points, DeMar DeRozan had 35 and the Chicago Bulls beat the Utah Jazz 126-118 on Saturday night.
After hitting 11 3s and scoring 41 points Friday night in a victory in Philadelphia, LaVine converted the three straights 3 to push the Bulls' lead to eight.
Bulls coach Billy Donovan said he'd like LaVine to shoot 10 to 15 3-pointers every game.
"I'll try if I can," LaVine said.
DeRozan passed Pau Gasol and Bob Pettit for 40th place on the NBA's career scoring list.
The Bulls have won three in a row to improve to 19-21. Utah dropped to 20-22 with its sixth loss in seven games.
"We still got a ways to go," DeRozan said about his synergy with LaVine. "That's the crazy part. We knew it was going to come at some point, understanding our spots and understanding moments in the game when it's time to be aggressive."
Former Bulls player Lauri Markkanen led the Jazz with 28 points, and Ochai Agbaji had 19.
Trailing 99-92, the Bulls went on an 11-2 run - led by two 3-pointers by Patrick Williams and a layup by 6-foot guard Coby White over the 7-foot Markkanen with 7:32 left.
The Bulls' rally stunted much of the momentum Utah built during a 40-point third quarter that featured Markkanen dunking over Vucevic.
"The learning moment for our team is guys can make two or three hard shots in a row, and you still got to maintain your discipline to the game plan to play to the level of intensity you need on defense," Utah coach Will Hardy said. "You can't let three tough shots deflate you, and I felt that's what happened in those moments. Our energy level went down."
Jazz: Markkanen's breakout season sparked speculation as to why he couldn't blossom quicker during his four seasons with the Bulls. "Everyone has their own growth period," said Bulls coach Billy Donovan, who coached Markkanen during his last season in Chicago (2020-21) before he was dealt to Cleveland as part of a three-team trade. Donovan citied Markkanen leaving Arizona after his freshman year and eventually blossoming through his experiences and skill set. "I always a big fan of Lauri in my short period of time being with him," Donovan said.
Bulls: G Alex Caruso (right ankle sprain), G Javonte Green (right knee soreness) and C Tony Bradley (health and safety protocols) were out. Caruso was a game-time scratch.
Jazz: At Memphis on Sunday night.
Bulls: At Boston on Monday night.
More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports
Updated January 7, 2023