Game Thread: Bulls @ Blazers (9:00 pm)

Game Thread: Bulls @ Blazers (9:00 pm)

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.

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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  • With Portland's guard matchup it might behoove Hoiberg to think out of the box a little and start Jimmy at the 3 with Rose and Moore/Hinrich at the other guard. Worth a try since the Bulls are getting nothing out of Sleepy Snell and Jimmer McDermott.

    I know it won't happen, but I would love to see Noah get a DNP. Have Gibson play Noah's role with Portis getting some burn. The Bulls have to face facts. Noah is an embarrassment and you can't play someone who is not only a zero on offense but a negative.

  • We need to go into Portland and kick their butts. They have handed us our head over the last ten years just about every time we have played there. Lamarcus is gone, so it should be doable. I hope the Bull's players remember the beatdowns we've taken there and come out with an attitude tonight. If we don't win this game, it will tell me that we really have no chance this year. C'mon guys, it is time to crank it up! Go Bulls.

  • Can Portis be our Porzingis? It is about time for Hoiberg to let us know.

  • In reply to Sluggers:

    You mean putting up 20(plus) & 10(plus) in back to back games, that might be asking a bit too much from a DNPCD guy.

    It looks like the Knicks got "lucky" even though they fell from 2nd to 4rth in the draft. I wonder what they would have done if they had the 2nd pick instead of the Lakers, would they still have taken Porzingis.
    I liked Mudiay over Russell at PG, and Porzingis skill at 7"2-3 would have been hard to pass up. I did notice that Okafor vastly outplayed KAT(who only played 19 minutes as the starter to Diengs 29) last night. Don't know who I want to succeed less the Knicks or the Lakers, I think it's still the Knicks.

    We almost have to root for some kind of non career changing injury just to free Bobby Portis, or obviously a trade that doesn't appear to be on the near horizon.

  • Sleepy & Jimmer, 3 for 12 tonight. Bulls getting nothing from the 3 position and struggle against a below average Portland team. It's getting old. And the Bulls roster with 3 bigs who can't get on the floor. Come on GarPax. Get off your lazy asses and make a move.

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