After a three day break, the Circus Trip out West will recommence for the Bulls, who will look to bounce back from their honorable loss to the defending champions, Warriors.
Already battling the in-form Suns guards and the Splash Brothers in their previous two games, Chicago are now set the task of stopping another young and dynamic scoring backcourt in Portland. Though a nice break should have the players rested and recovered, the restored energy levels will certainly need to be expended to hold off the Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum.
We've all been shocked by the the mini resurgence that Kirk Hinrich has delivered over the last two games in place of Derrick Rose in the starting unit, and whilst we'd all love to believe this flurry of great play is sustainable, you would imagine even the most staunch Kirk supporters will be pleased to know that Derrick Rose looks set to return.
Hoiberg says Rose went through all of Sunday's practice. He's hopeful Rose will be able to play Tuesday in Portland.
— Nick Friedell (@NickFriedell) November 22, 2015
It will be interesting to see which Derrick Rose shows up. Without him, Jimmy Butler has been fantastic in leading the team. Rose has spoken about diverting more to Butler, particularly as his double vision remains, but with a match-up looming against another top flight point guard, will he play the team game, or will he look to dominate his Adidas counterpart on his home floor?
Keys To The Game
Stop Lillard & McCollum, Stop The Blazers
As the two key cogs in the 9th best offense in the league, the starting backcourt of the Blazers is averaging for 46.1 points per game, which accounts for 45% of Portland's total points on any given night.
Whilst it's easier said then done, cutting off one - if not both - from scoring a heap of points from the perimeter is critical should the Bulls want to walk away from the Moda Center with the W.
Terrific shooters from deep and amazing pull up shooters who can stop on a dime in a pick-and-roll, Butler and Rose will have their work cut out for them. Hopefully Rose's ankle is healed enough to contain the focus Lillard is surely due to command.
The Bulls Backcourt Must Fire
Being ranked 20th in defense, it's safe to say that Portland aren't winning games by stopping their opponents. Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum are a terrific scoring backcourt, but they also have weaknesses on the defensive side of the ball.
Lillard has never been known for his defense and McCollum is undersized, particularly in comparison to Jimmy Butler. Should Terry Stotts match up position for position, Rose and Butler must attack the lanes.
Look for the Blazers to have Aminu guard Butler. Though it would be nice for Portland to send McCollum to Butler all night, you have to plan for them being smart enough to put their defensively challenged two-guard on the Bulls' spot-up shooting, little dribble penetration small forwards.
Own The Paint, Dominate The Glass
Without looking, you'd expect Chicago to be the superior rebounding team. I certainly did. That wouldn't seem to be the case so far in the young season.
Heading into the game, the Blazers currently rank 15th in rebounds per game and 14th in rebounding percentage. Despite being ranked 2nd in rebounds per game, oddly, the Bulls also rank 21st in rebounding percentage. This isn't terribly surprising once you begin to factor in defense, but should the Bulls not bring their best stopping efforts, they could very well lose any perceived strengths they have in this aspect of the game.
With a young and energetic frontcourt, Portland will continuously work. Miles Plumlee, Noah Vonleh and Ed Davis will be a tough cover for the experienced and inconsistent bigs of Chicago, and they will need to be prepared to rebound, or face being embarrassed by lesser names.
Good Luck Charm
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