(SportsNetwork.com) - The Chicago Bulls have been playing sensational basketball since early December and they'll try to continue that Wednesday night when they welcome the Utah Jazz for their annual trip to the United Center.
The Bulls have won three straight, but that doesn't tell the full story. Since Dec. 10, Chicago is 13-2 and vaulted into second place in the Eastern Conference, 1 1/2 games behind the Atlanta Hawks.
All three of the Bulls' victories during this streak came at home. Wednesday's tilt will end a homestand, then, it's a quick jaunt to Washington on Friday and back home for three straight.
On Monday, the Bulls dispatched the Houston Rockets, 114-105. Chicago has scored over 100 points every game during this run, but it's also allowed over the century mark in all three.
Pau Gasol had 27 points and 14 rebounds as the Bulls used a strong fourth quarter to beat the Rockets.
Jimmy Butler added 22 points and three steals for the Bulls, who outscored Houston by a 31-16 margin in the final period. Derrick Rose contributed 19 points and nine assists, Nikola Mirotic tallied 17 points and eight boards and Kirk Hinrich scored 10 points.
"I think we were solid, just good defensive positioning on the floor," Gasol said.
The Jazz have alternated wins and losses over their last six and begin a tough, three-game road trip Wednesday. Utah will also visit the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets on this trek.
The Jazz left Salt Lake City with a bad taste in their mouth after a 105-101 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Monday.
Derrick Favors posted 27 points and 11 rebounds, while Gordon Hayward tallied 24 points and seven boards for Utah, which has dropped two of its last three games.
Rookie Dante Exum, who started for the sick Trey Burke, had 13 points in a shade under 30 minutes. He didn't register a single turnover, but also didn't have an assist.
Trevor Booker (12) and Rudy Gobert (11) rounded out the double-digit scorers.
Utah erased a 19-point first half deficit and trailed 101-100 after Favors capped a 13-4 Utah run with a pair of free throws with 9.5 seconds remaining.
C.J. Miles sunk a pair of foul shots at the other end and Hayward split two bonus shots after he was fouled along the right baseline with 5.7 ticks on the clock. Solomon Hill hit two free throws to seal the outcome with 4.8 seconds left.
The Jazz went 4-for-23 from long range.
"For the most part I think we played extremely hard, we just seemed to miss a lot of shots," Hayward said.
Burke is expected back on Wednesday, but starting center Enes Kanter is going to be out a little while with an ankle injury.
The Bulls beat the Jazz in Utah on Nov. 24 and have taken seven of the last eight meetings. Chicago has won four straight as the host in this series.