With Kris Dunn still recovering from slamming his face into the floor against the Warriors, Lauri Markkanen absent for personal reasons, and Nikola Mirotic suddenly shelved amid an ongoing trade search; tonight’s matchup between the Chicago Bulls and the Portland Trail Blazers appeared over before it even began.
Guess what? It was. The contest mercifully ended with a final score of 124-108 in favor of the Blazers.
The Bulls as a team got single-handedly outscored by C.J. McCollum in the first quarter 28-19 and never made the contest competitive after falling behind 23-2 before six minutes had passed in the game. Zach LaVine finally had an encouraging performance with 23 points on 8-13 shooting from the field, but it was otherwise one of the most forgettable team performances in recent Bulls memory that doesn’t really merit any recollection.
McCollum dropped 50 points in 29 minutes on a scalding 72% shooting, did not play in the 4th quarter, and eviscerated pretty much every defender Fred Hoiberg tried throwing at him—including David Nwaba. Even so, the Bulls played lackluster team defense out of the gate as evidenced by a 43 point opening quarter for the Blazers, continung their trend during this losing streak of debilitating slow starts.
The Bulls are now a half loss ahead of the Memphis Grizzlies for the sixth spot in the NBA lottery. Welcome back #TeamTank!