The Chicago Bulls finished strong with a solid fourth quarter and defeated the Utah Jazz, a Western conference playoff bound team. Jimmy Butler scored 23 points.
In a game without the injured Dwyane Wade, the Bulls played well at the United Center. Bobby Portis, the forward, had a career high 22 points. Denzel Valentine chipped in with 11 points and 12 rebounds in his first career double-double.
The Bulls won 95-86 on the strength of a 34 points fourth quarter and outscored the Jazz, 34-22. When you score points, you just might win a NBA game, and the Bulls did just that. Chicago (33-37) is a game and a half behind the Miami Heat for the 8th playoff spot.
“We wanted to prove that we are still a playoff team, that we are still a good team,” said rookie Valentine.
The Bulls hit 47.5% from the floor and made 37% from long-distance. It helps to make baskets. Recently, the Bulls only had 20 points in the fourth frame in a losing effort.
George Hill had 18 points for Utah. Rudy Gobert, had a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds.
It was Portis’ night to shine despite coming off the the bench.
Valentine had two trey in the fourth quarter to help the Bulls take the lead. Robin Lopez, the reliable center, scored 14 points for Chicago.
It looks like the Bulls may be in a nip and tuck race to claim a playoff spot without Wade, their second-best player this season.