Who are these Chicago Bulls?
They give up 39 points in the first quarter and were down by 20 early in the second quarter. But what do they do? They fought back in thrilling fashion exiting the first game of their infamous West Coast swing with a 111-108 victory against a perennially solid Portland squad.
Again, this wasn’t some random 20-point comeback at home against the Washington Wizards or Detroit Pistons. This was the Trail Blazers who had all their key guys————Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Jusuf Nurkic————playing last night.
There’s no way of knowing for sure, but this feels like a game the Bulls would have folded and lost by double-digits in last season. The players seemed to confirm this theory in their postgame comments.
The Bulls move to 4-4 on the season. A modest feat for most franchises, but a significant one for the Bulls given the context of where they’ve been and where they’re trying to go. They started the season 0-3, many of us fans hit the panic button, and now they’re back at .500.
The Bulls have an opportunity tonight to move above .500 if they can notch a win against the Sacramento Kings.
The last time the Bulls' record went above .500 at any point in a season was March 2, 2017.— Rob Schaefer (@rob_schaef) January 6, 2021
They beat the Warriors to move to 31-30 behind a starting lineup of Jerian Grant, Dwyane Wade, Jimmy Butler, Bobby Portis and Robin Lopez.
They've got a chance to move to 5-4 tonight
Against the Kings tonight, it’s all about the guards. De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield are one of the most unheralded backcourts in the NBA, largely because of the team name on the front of their uniforms. Fox is lightning fast, so young Bulls point guard Coby White is in for a challenge on the defensive end tonight.
The other headliner for the Kings is the highly scrutinized Marvin Bagley III. He’s put up solid numbers in this first three NBA seasons; the argument from his detractors though is if his playing style is conducive to winning. The Kings drafted him second overall in the 2018 NBA draft just ahead of guys like Luka Doncic, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Trae Young so he’s probably held to an unfairly high standard because of that.
The Bulls have a shot for a legit three-game winning streak tonight. Do you think they will deliver?
The Bulls have a number of guys who are still on the injury report because of COVID-19 protocol. Hopefully, they’ll be trickling back into the lineup here soon.
For the Kings, rookie Tyrese Haliburton is questionable after missing their prior two games.
Game Time: NBC Sports Chicago; 9:00 p.m. CDT