It was another loss for the Chicago Bulls as they were beat 103-95 against the Portland Trail Blazers. It was a better effort from this Chicago team, who were without Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose once again, but it wasn't enough.
Offensively Chicago had their moments as they made mini spurts to try and get back in the game. They weren't as bad as they were in Atlanta but they still struggled. One of the positives is that four players were in double figures tonight so at least some of the scoring was balanced. It also didn't help that some of the Bulls got in foul trouble but it's not like they would have helped if they were on the court. Without their two of their best offensive players on the court, Chicago's offense will struggle. There is no doubt about it.
But the main problem was on defense once again.
Trail Blazers are 13th straight opponent with 100 or more points. That's Bulls' longest such streak since allowing 25 straight 30 years ago.— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) February 28, 2016
Once again, the Bulls struggled to contain another top guard in the NBA in Damian Lillard. He has been on fire since the All-Star break and dumped 31 points on Chicago tonight. Tony Snell did a decent job guarding Lillard in the second half as he only scored 12 points in the second half compared to the great first half he had.
But even when Lillard wasn't scoring, the other Blazers were stepping up as well. On a night where C.J. McCollum had an abysmal night shooting from the field, shooting 1-12 from the field and missing all of his five three-point attempts, other Blazers stepped up for him.
Gerald Henderson pitched in with 13 points and Allen Crabbe scored 11 as he is slowly developing into a solid player. Crabbe's length gave the Bulls trouble on both ends of the court although watching him and Doug McDermott battle was pretty fun.
Even Ed Davis pitched in with nine rebounds and nine points with many of them coming in the 4th.
But the most surprising Blazers to step up and cause the Bulls problems was Meyers Leonard and Mason Plumlee. The former Illini in Leonard put in eight points with six of them coming from beyond the three-point line, once again another big man who can shoot from the outside hurt the Bulls. But Chicago shouldn't be totally blamed for that as Leonard is still trying to develop his three-point game so letting him take three-pointers is more than well for the Bulls defense. But Plumlee was a menace to deal with.
He grabbed nine rebounds and had 16 points in the game, many coming from the free throw line. An athletic big man that can run the floor well and was just too much for the Bulls.
Portland's bench was what killed the Bulls also. All of Portland's bench guys chipped in and scored 43 points on the night. Chicago's scored 24 and if you take out Doug McDermott, who should be starting, and Bobby Portis, that total drops to six points.
The Bulls can score all they want to and get big nights from anyone on the roster, but it doesn't matter if they can't stop anyone on the defensive end.
Two other takeaways
2. Pau Gasol and E'Twaun Moore had solid offensive nights
Yes, we all know Pau has trouble on the defensive end but he stepped up tonight with triple double. It was Gasol's first in a Bulls uniform, as he scored 22 points, grabbed 16 boards, and had 14 assists. Gasol has been playing well on the offensive end and he is stepping up when needed.
E'Twaun Moore struggled in the first half as he went 0-8 from the field but he rebounded in the second half for sure. Moore finished with 19 points and was playing well the second half. He was getting to rim and was showing great ability to finish at the rim. He also was able to pull up and hit jumpers. It was good for him to rebound like that after a bad night against Atlanta.
Doug McDermott continued his usual scoring with 18 points on six of 14 shooting. Oh and he dunked again, so there is something to cheer about.
3. Tony Snell is really something else
I honestly have nothing else to take away from this game other than to somehow wonder how Tony Snell is still getting big minutes for Chicago.
I give him credit for playing well against Lillard for times in this game but that can't be enough. He is not a shutdown guy like Tony Allen where the offensive struggles is canceled out by stellar defense. He is nowhere near that. He is having one rough season and tonight was another piece to the puzzle.
This was Tony Snell's 9th scoreless game of the season.— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) February 28, 2016
He scored zero points in 28 minutes. There is no words to describe how bad that is.
Justin Holiday was just as bad as he didn't score in the 16 minutes either but was there for almost 12 minutes less than Snell. If it weren't Snell being this bad, we would be calling out Holiday but that is for another day.
Getting 43 minutes from two guys and getting zero points combined? Yeah you are going to struggle if that happens.
Tony Snell can't be on the Bulls next season.— Jason Patt (@Bulls_Jay) February 28, 2016