Portland Trail Blazers (26-26) vs Chicago Bulls (24-27)
The Portland Trail Blazers take on the Chicago Bulls the day after a 20-point comeback win against the Washington Wizards that took Portland’s active winning streak to three games. The Bulls are coming off of a win against the Charlotte Hornets and face the Blazers for game three of their four game home stand.
Blazers vs. Bulls — Saturday, February 4, 2023 — 5:00 p.m. PT
How to Watch: Root Sports Plus, NBC Sports Washington (NBCSWA), NBA League Pass
Blazers Injuries: Jusuf Nurkic (out), Justise Winslow (out), Greg Brown III (out), Ibou Badji (out), Gary Payton II (questionable)
Bulls Injuries: Lonzo Ball (out), Javonte Green (out), Patrick Williams (questionable), Alex Caruso (questionable), Nikola Vucevic (probable)
SBN Affiliate: Blog A Bull
What To Watch For
- Trendon Watford. After struggling to find a place in the rotation so far this season, Trendon Watford took control of the Blazers’ last win. Watford saw increased minutes due to Jusuf Nurkic’ ongoing calf injury and Watford made the most of them. In 29 minutes he scored 21 points, adding five assists, three rebounds, and a steal. He stuffed the stat sheet all night and was instrumental in the Blazers’ comeback win. With Nurkic set to miss more time, Watford will have a couple more chances to prove why he deserves a featured role. There’s nothing more dangerous than a player with nothing to lose, and that will be exactly what Chicago has to contend with in this contest.
- Cleaning the glass. After brutal matchups against both the Atlanta Hawks and Memphis Grizzlies where Portland was outmatched on the offensive glass, they caught a night off against a weaker rebounding Washington team. That easy stretch might continue today as Chicago ranks 28th in offensive rebounds per game at just 8.5 per contest. Without Nurkic, outrebounding a team is always a tall task, but it doesn’t get much easier than preventing second chances from the Bulls this season. If Portland can hold Chicago to their averages, they might have a lot easier of a time by preventing those extra possessions.
- Preventing easy looks. The Bulls make just 10.7 three pointers a game, good for 27th in the league. However, they convert on those chances when they get them, as they sit 9th in the league in three-point percentage. If Portland can force them outside of their comfort zone, they could knock the Bulls out of rhythm. This could be done by either forcing the opponent to take more threes than normal or by getting rid of the kick-out three-point shot. Inviting the Bulls outside of the normal flow of the offense could be the key to getting them to miss more threes, and the more they miss, the more advantageous to a Blazers team that can capitalize in transition when they get the opportunity.
What Others Are Saying
Blog A Bull’s Vijay Vemu talked about the contributions of the Bulls’ role players in their recent win over the Hornets.
Nikola Vucevic notched another double double with 17 points and 12 rebounds. He also added six assists. Andre Drummond made a huge impact in his 15 minutes of play, getting a double double of his own with 15 points and 11 rebounds. He was quickly finding his spots on the court looking for post up opportunities and created second chance opportunities with five offensive rebounds.
Coby White had a nice night as well with 20 points off the bench. He hit three of his five attempts from downtown along with four rebounds. He was looking for his shots as well with 13 shot attempts, second most of any Bulls player in the game.
Ryan Dauterive of Sports Mockery talks about the renaissance that Patrick Williams has had in 2023.
Three whole months into the season, Patrick Williams has finally arrived. Gradually improving his numbers over the year, his latest month featured 13 points, over five rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game, all monumentally increasing from the first weeks in November. His shooting percentages in January sat at 48.5% overall and 42% from beyond the three-point arc, at least a 6% increase in each from his initial numbers. He’s scored 15 or more six times so far in 2023, something he failed to do a single time in November.