NBA Championship banners lace the rafters at the United Center, a waving reminder of a golden past. With Chicago legend Michael Jordan in attendance Saturday night, Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls gave the former star a glimpse of gold the future may hold.
Rose and Luol Deng scored 26 points apiece to lead the Bulls past the reeling Utah Jazz, who have lost 10 of 13 since the resignation of coach Jerry Sloan. The Bulls have won 13 out of 15, despite losing forward Carlos Boozer earlier in the week with an ankle sprain. The former Utah star is currently listed as day-to-day.
Chicago jumped out to an early 37-17 lead in the first quarter, paced by Rose's five three-pointers. The Bulls hit a franchise record 18 shots from beyond the arc at an efficient 56 percent in the victory.
Despite trailing by 27 points at the half, the Jazz surged in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Bulls by 10 points. Utah gained an advantage at the charity stripe, hitting 30 of 35 attempts to only 18 of 28 from Chicago. But in the end, the first half performance proved too much to handle for the reeling Jazz.
Al Jefferson, who was acquired in the offseason following the loss of Boozer, scored 33 points and 18 rebounds in the loss. The Jazz fell for the second time in as many games after a 21-point blowout loss to the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night.
The Bulls gave a standout performance on the 20th anniversary of the team's first championship. Jordan, Scottie Pippen and other former players were honored at halftime.
Coach Tom Thibodeau and the Bulls pulled into a tie for first place in the Eastern Conference with the Boston Celtics. The two teams have one more meeting before playoff action begins.
Chicago concludes its home stand against the Washington Wizards on Tuesday. The Wizards have lost three straight games, and will be on the second day of a back-to-back following a matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday.