Portland Trail Blazers (7-8) vs Chicago Bulls (10-4)
The Portland Trail Blazers are back at home in the Moda Center taking on the Chicago Bulls. After a difficult road trip that left the team 1-7 for road games, the team beat the Toronto Raptors in their first game back at home, making them 6-1 in the Moda Center. Apparently home court advantage is a real thing for the Blazers this season, and hopefully they’ll see that again as they take on the Bulls.
Wednesday, November 17 - 7:00 p.m. PT
How to watch on TV: ROOT Sports, NBA League Pass
Blazers injuries: Greg Brown III (day-to-day),
Bulls injuries: Patrick Williams (out), Nikola Vucevik (out)
SBN Affiliate: Blog a Bull
Damian Lillard and Norman Powell are good to go tonight
What To Watch For
- Dame’s injury. Damian Lillard has been silently battling an injury for the last 3 seasons according to his post game availability on Monday. The point guard discussed the injury that he irritated during the Olympics this summer and how it’s continued to plague him. Lillard sat out two games ago after his injury flared up again, and while he seemed to look more like himself in Monday’s game, it’s notably worth watching for. He’s currently listed as questionable, and if he doesn’t play, that will present it’s own set of things to watch — namely the unique lineups we may see (especially with Norman Powell also listed as questionable).
- 10 point gaps. 10 seems to be the magic number for the Blazers. So far this season, if they get behind by 10 points, they lose. But if they can get a 10 point lead, they win. If the Blazers can manage to get an early lead, it seems to be a big advantage for this team. While that may seem like an obvious statement, in previous seasons the Blazers were known to make up a 30 point deficit, or blow a 30 point lead.
- Robert Covington. RoCo has started the season a little slower than normal. The 3&D player was key for the Trail Blazers last season on defense but this season has struggled both at the 3 and at the D. In Monday night's match up against the Raptors, Covington seemed to be playing more like the player Blazer fans are used to with 11 points, three rebounds, three blocks and two assists. A full strength Robert Covington is an asset for the Blazers — an asset the team needs.
What Others Are Saying
The Blazers seem to be doing everything they can to make up for their losses, and right now that means winning at home. Casey Hodahl quoted CJ McCollum and his take on the team.
After returning from a demoralizing four-game trip with just one win, the Trail Blazers returned to Moda Center to defeat the Raptors 118-113 in front of a crowd of 16,142 Monday night in Portland.
“I think we need every home game considering how bad we’re playing on the road,” said CJ McCollum. “You just got to have a sense of urgency, especially at home. You don’t get these games back and you’re going to wish you got them later on in the season. So we’ve just got to try and take advantage, feed off our home crowd’s energy because it is tough playing on the road.”
There has been lots of speculation as to why Lillard has had a slow start, and why the Blazers seem to be struggling on the road. Anne M. Peterson of Associated Press summed it up.
“When we play at home, it’s a different team than when we play on the road. That’s just the truth. And I’m not sure what it is,” Lillard said. “I think when you’re at home there’s just a level of comfort and support that you feel from the fans. But at the same time, we’re NBA players. We play on the road a lot.”
Lillard was questionable before the game because of an abdominal strain, but he started. Lillard missed the Blazers’ loss at Denver on Sunday night with the injury. Lillard has had a slow start to the season, averaging 20 points a game, well off his average last season.