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Chicago Bulls vs. Portland Trail Blazers preview and thread: afternoon chance to get back in the win column

We need a win

Chicago Bulls v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Cameron Browne/NBAE via Getty Images

Chicago Bulls (30-18) vs. Portland Trail Blazers (21-28)

In the last 10 games, the Bulls are 3-7.

The defense is an unmitigated disaster.

All season, the Bulls have found a way to win games despite the injuries, despite the COVID-19 virus making its rounds through just about everybody on the team, and through everything else. Lately though, things have been different and the Bulls are no longer overcoming extraordinary circumstances by winning games. Missing Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso is looking like too much for this defense to compensate.

The Trail Blazers are next on the schedule. The Bulls first matchup against Portland was a disaster, featuring an epic second-half collapse that at the time was probably the Bulls worst loss of the season.

But the Blazers look a lot different now. Damian Lillard elected to have abdominal surgery for an ailment that’s been affecting him since the summer, with Nassir Little, Larry Nance Jr., and Cody Zeller also all out with long-term injuries.

There was the obvious thought that Portland would rev up the tank. But behind CJ McCollum and a breakout year from Anfernee Simons, they’ve been a surprising 8-6 since Lillard went out. With the bottom of the Western Conference seemingly falling out, they are in the 10th and final play-in seed, actually up 2.5 games over #11. They’re also still firmly in the 9th spot in the lottery, but maybe with Lillard’s return they can get themselves out of the lottery and the Bulls their first-round pick. (or they’ll trade away non-Lillard contributors and stink)

The Bulls are back at home for this one, and in a matinee matchup. That could mean a comfortable setting, but also weird stuff happens in NBA afternoons.

Injury Report:

Nothing new for the Bulls, for once.

For Portland, all of Robert Covington, Norm Powell, and Dennis Smith are listed as probable.

Game Time: 2:30 p.m. CDT, NBC Sports Chicago