The Bulls opened up a big lead early and never looked back, as the Blazers could not overcome a second consecutive lethargic start, losing to the Chicago Bulls 113-88. The Blazers were led by Damian Lillard with 19 points. The Bulls were led by Jimmy Butler’s 27 points and 12 rebounds.
After last game’s tepid start that led to Terry Stotts giving a likely NSFW pep talk at halftime, the Blazers came out aggressive and getting buckets. Right? Nah, not so much. It was the Bulls that bolted out to a 10-0 lead, which would be just four points shy of what the Blazers would score for the entire quarter. The Blazers didn’t get their first field goal until just under seven minutes remaining on a driving lay-in by CJ McCollum. Meanwhile, Jimmy Butler nearly outscored the Blazers himself, scoring 13 in the quarter and Robin Lopez made us feel all sorts of longing with 9 points and 7 rebounds. The Blazers shot 20% for the quarter, including just 2-12 from long range. Damian Lillard was 0-7.
End of First: Portland 14 , Chicago 35
Ed Davis gave the Blazers some needed spark off the bench, providing some muscle on the boards and helping to boost a lagging offense. Behind him and McCollum, the Blazers made a mini-run to cut the lead to 42-26. Cutting into such a huge deficit was proving to be a grinding effort; Portland’s defense and rebounding effort ramped up, but their offense continued to struggle with Lillard and McCollum yet to have any surges in scoring. Davis gave the Blazers 6 points with 5 rebounds and McCollum found his way to 9 points to lead his team at the half. While the Blazers’ effort was better, it may have come 12 minutes too late.
Halftime: Portland 37, Chicago 56
Apparently, there was no magical halftime speech by Stotts, tonight. It was again the Bulls who dictated the tempo of the opening half and exaggerated their lead to 24 in the opening minutes. Lillard finally began to generate some buckets for himself, but nary any of it came easy. Despite Portland’s bench outscoring Chicago’s bench 22-4, the Blazers could not put a dent into the Bulls’ 20-point lead by quarter’s end. After a couple of promising outings, Evan Turner continues to be the 70-million dollar enigma while Allen Crabbe and Davis made the only noise off the bench thus far. After three, it was still all Chicago.
End of Third: Portland 63, Chicago 83
The Bulls opened up their lead to 25 before a 5-0 run by the Blazers led to a conservative timeout by Chicago. Afterwards, order was restored and the Bulls bumped their lead back to 24 with just over four minutes remaining. Portland’s frontcourt continued to be crushed by the Bulls on the boards. It was garbage time by the 3 minute mark and the Blazers lose the last of a three-game homestand.
The Blazers embark on a 5-game road trip beginning on Thursday against James Harden and the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center. Tip off is at 5 pm. Stay tuned to Blazer's Edge tonight, for extended analysis of this game from Eric Griffith.