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Portland Trail Blazers at Chicago Bulls Preview

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The Blazers look to right the ship during their miserable road trip against the youth-infused Bulls.

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Chicago Bulls Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Trail Blazers (5-12) at Chicago Bulls (6-11)

November 25, 2019 - 5:00 p.m. PT
Blazers injuries: Zach Collins (out), Jusuf Nurkic (out), Hassan Whiteside (probable), Gary Trent Jr. (questionable)
Bulls injuries: Otto Porter Jr. (out), Luke Kornet (out), Cristiano Felicio (out)
How to watch on TV: NBCSNW, NBA League Pass (outside of Portland)
How to stream: Blazer’s Edge Streaming Guide
Radio: 620 AM
SBN Affiliate: Blog A Bull

An ugly fog has fallen over the Portland Trail Blazers as they head into Chicago. They can only hope the Windy City will blow the losing malaise away.

The Trail Blazers suffered a particularly terrible defeat on Saturday in Cleveland, falling to the cellar-dwelling Cavaliers 110-104. Damian Lillard had 23 points in his return from injury, but the Blazers were crushed on the glass. Tristan Thompson picked apart Portland with 25 points and 9 rebounds, including 3 offensive boards.

For the Bulls, point guard Zach LaVine responded to a benching by head coach Jim Boylen by dropping 49 points against the Charlotte Hornets in a crazy 116-115 win on Saturday. Terry Rozier had 28 to lead the Hornets.

What to watch for

  • The Little things. Nassir Little has been a bright spot in this rough patch for the Blazers. His energy on rebounds has been especially key with the Blazers missing Hassan Whiteside. Getting him engaged will go a long way towards snapping this losing skid.
  • Glass ceiling. As I wrote in my recent column, rebounding continues to be a severe issue for Portland. Anthony Tolliver played 30 minutes and merely walked away with seven rebounds, and none on the offensive side. Thompson regularly beat him to loose shots. While his defense may not be as good, it may be time for Skal Labissiere to get the lion’s share of Tolliver’s minutes to help out in rebounding.
  • Win or bust mentality. When Damian Lillard is fully engaged on destroying an opponent, he is nearly unstoppable. It may be time for beast mode Dame to roll over the Bulls perimeter defense, which is severely lacking. If Terry Rozier can drop 28 on them, what can a top-five scorer in the Western Conference do?

What they’re saying

Paul Steeno of Blog a Bull rates Chicago’s free agent moves, most of whom have been underwhelming thus far:

A 5-10 start to the season has stymied some of the optimism. While two of the three free agent newcomers have been adequate, their play hasn’t been worthy of the pat on the backs pundits were giving the front office over the summer when they signed in Chicago.

Phil Thompson of the Chicago Tribune looks back at forward Luol Deng as he is honored by the team:

Deng knew he wanted to close the last chapter of his 15-year career with the team that acquired him in a draft-day trade in 2004, so he signed a one-day contract Oct. 17 to retire as a Bull. He also had to choose which day the Bulls would celebrate him.

BONUS: On the Blazer’s Edge Podcast, Tara Bowen-Biggs (aka Team Mom) spoke with Maggie Hendricks of 670 The Score about the young Chicago Bulls and their upcoming matchup with the Blazers. Check it out below:

Download the episode