Portland Trail Blazers @ Chicago Bulls recap
In Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bulls in the “Windy City,” the Portland Trail Blazers likely knew the Bulls at 30-18 would be a tougher opponent than the Rockets were on Friday. Especially with, 2022 All-Star forward DeMar DeRozan averaging 26.5 points per game and center Nikola Vučević tallying16.6 points and11.3 rebounds for the year.
Like Friday’s game, the Blazers won the tip with Jusuf Nurkić scoring within the first 20 seconds of the game. Chicago would follow with a bucket by guard Ayo Dosunmu. Anfernee Simon’s hot shooting streak continued in the first, 3-5 on field goals, 2-3 on three’s for eight points. The Blazers were seven for eight on three’s, including one from 27 feet by Nurkić, in the first eight minutes in the quarter. Portland led 35-29 to end the first.
The second quarter was all Chicago to begin. Trendon Watford fouled DeRozan twelve seconds into the second, sending him to the line. Myriad other buckets started to pour in for the Bulls, giving them the lead, and led to a timeout called by Portland down by one. Both teams would exchange baskets and go cold before the Bulls would heat up again with 3:55 left to play in the half. Chicago would wind up leading 73-65 at halftime. The Blazers shot 25-44, 56.8 percent, and the Bulls, 29/49, 59.2 perfect for the half. Norman Powell notched 17 points for Portland and Vucevic totaled 14 points and seven rebounds for Chicago.
"“We got to full-on increase our intensity, our physicality, our ball pressure, the Bulls put on a clinic in the first half, 21 assists, two turnovers. That ball was flying everywhere, straight lines drive, drop-offs at the basket. Our mindsets have to get into the ball, make it way more difficult than in the first half.”"
Assistant Coach Steve Hetzel, in a halftime interview with Brook Olzendam, on what they needed to see from the defense in the second half.
The third quarter was all Chicago, at one point the Bulls had the lead by as many as 19 with 5:04 in the quarter. The Blazers would dig their way out of the hole they made for themselves, cutting the lead to an eight-point deficit with 2:25 to go in the quarter. Chicago continually staved off the Blazers’ runs before they became too threatening, leading to a 104-90 score after the third. The fourth as was the third belonged to Chicago and the Bulls showed why they should be considered as serious contenders. Their firepower proved too much for the Portland Trail Blazers in the end, and Chicago took the win, 130-116.
CJ McCollum finished with 29 points and Powell ended with 22 for Portland.