The Bulls partied like it was 1999 on Wednesday night at the United Center.
With basically the entire starting lineup out due to injuries or extreme fatigue, Jim Boylen trotted out a starting lineup of Shaquille Harrison, Antonio Blakeney, Wayne Selden Jr., Brandon Sampson (Sorry, Windy City Bulls) and Robin Lopez. Nine players dressed in total.
It obviously didn’t go well.
The Bulls shot 6-of-25 from the field in the first quarter and scored a season-low 14 points en route to a 118-98 loss. The Blazers led by as many as 28 points in the third quarter.
The Blazers got off to a sluggish start themselves in their first game after Jusuf Nurkic’s devastating injury. Damian Lillard missed all five of his shots in the first quarter and coasted throughout his 28 minutes on the floor (11 points represent his lowest total since 2016), but he was picked up by a balanced scoring effort as Portland eventually found a groove. Seth Curry led the Blazers with 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting as they racked up 70 bench points.
For the Zombie Bulls, Harrison scored a career-high 21 points and notched his first double-double with the Bulls by grabbing 10 rebounds. Selden recorded his first career double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Good for those guys.
Robin Lopez and Cristiano Felicio had 15 points apiece, with Lopez scoring four straight times at one point in the second quarter to keep the Bulls “in it” and Felicio even postering Meyers Leonard later in the game. Yes, that really happened. Big Cris also launched two 3-pointers ... he of course missed them both.
At this point in the season with so many guys out, there’s basically nothing left to take away from these games. The effort was mostly there in this one, as it was in Toronto, but the Bulls are just working with a massive talent deficit. It’s pretty tough to watch, and I almost feel for the broadcast team trying exceptionally hard to sell the viewers on the future. I say almost because they’re trying very, very hard.
The Bulls have matched last season’s loss total with 55, and there are now six games remaining. Apparently Lauri Markkanen will not be suiting up in any of those games:
Coach Boylen: "Lauri will be out for the rest of the season. We got his tests back from his fatigue episode came back all positive, but we're going to be as cautious with him as we can." pic.twitter.com/l4ub1M9KfW— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) March 28, 2019
The Bulls might as well shut down the rest of the crew as well. Next game is Saturday against the Raptors.