The Chicago Bulls notched their fourth win of the last five contests as they defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 111-108 at the Moda Center on Tuesday night.
It was a true team win as seven different Bulls players scored in double figures, led by Coby White, who had 21 points, ten rebounds, and five assists (two turnovers).
Otto Porter Jr. also logged a double-double (19 points, 13 rebounds) while Zach LaVine matched his highest number of assists in a game in his Bulls career, with nine (eight in the first half)
C.J. McCollum scored 26 points to lead the Blazers. Damian Lillard scored 24 points but shot just 6/17, including only 3/11 from behind the three-point line.
The Bulls entered this one trying to end a seven-game losing streak against the Blazers. They last tasted victory against Portland all the way back in November 2016.
Once again, the Bulls were short-handed as Lauri Markkanen, Tomas Satoransky, Chandler Hutchison, and Ryan Arcidiacano were all out for COVID-19-related reasons.
Hot Start for the Blazers
Portland came out of the gates firing on all cylinders by hitting their first four shot attempts, all from behind the three-point line.
The Bulls, however, did keep it fairly close at first. Wendell Carter Jr. (13 points) got in the mix with five points in the quarter and a Coby White 6-0 run brought the Bulls within four points with 3:12 remaining in the first quarter.
But the Blazers’ hot night continued as they pulled away with yet another three-point barrage, finishing the quarter shooting 8/15 from behind the arc as a team.
Bulls Fight Back
The Blazers led after the first quarter, 39-21, and stretched their lead out to 20 points before the Bulls mounted their comeback.
Zach LaVine (18 points) led the charge, but it wasn’t by putting the ball in the net. The Bulls’ leading scorer instead dished out five of his eight first-half assists during a Bulls’ 13-0 run in the middle of the second quarter, cutting the Portland lead to seven points.
That is as close as the Bulls would get as they went into the break down by nine.
A back-and-forth affair ensued in the third quarter as the Bulls cut the deficit to five points multiple times before a Carmelo Anthony three-pointer pushed Portland’s lead to 12 with three minutes to play in the quarter. But the Bulls had an unlikely bench contributor that kept them in the game.
Garrett Temple led a key 11-3 run to end the third frame — scoring eight of those 11 points — helping to cut the lead to just four heading into the final quarter.
Temple finished with 14 points off the bench and went 4/9 shooting from behind the arc.
Finishing It Off
Both teams were even throughout the first part of the quarter as neither could break away. The Bulls hung around and took the lead for the first time on a Garrett Temple three-pointer with 6:36 to play.
The Blazers briefly regained the lead before a pair of Carter Jr. free throws put the Bulls up 102-100 with 3:34 to play, a lead they would not relinquish.
A pair of jump shots by Otto Porter Jr. and Coby White extended the Bulls lead to six with just 2:08 to play. The Blazers, however, would not go away, as Damian Lillard hit five free-throws to cut the Bulls’ lead to one with just 30 seconds to play.
But Zach LaVine showed why he is the Bulls main man, hitting a clutch three-pointer with 10.8 seconds left to extend the lead to four.
Lillard responded for the Blazers by hitting a three of his own just a few seconds later. But a pair of Coby White free throws and a Carmelo Anthony three-point miss sealed the deal for the Bulls, who improved to 4-4 on the season. The win to kick off their west coast swing marks the first time they are .500 or better through the first eight games of a season since 2016.
What’s On Tap Next?
The Bulls (4-4) travel to California’s capital tonight as they take on the Sacramento Kings (3-4), who ride a three-game losing streak into this contest. The Bulls will be looking to extend their win streak to three and make it five of their last six. It’s another late one as tipoff is at 9:00 PM CT. Tune in to the Bulls On Tap podcast for further Chicago basketball analysis and commentary.