Pre-Gamin’: Trail Blazers at Bulls (2:30 CT) — Lineups, Broadcast Info, Game Thread

The Bulls return to the United Center for a quick two-game homestand against the Trail Blazers and the Magic (Tuesday), searching for a bounce-back performance after an ugly loss in San Antonio on Friday night. The Bulls played one of their worst defensive games of the season, but luckily Billy Donovan does a great job of ensuring that the Bulls don’t string together poor performances on the defensive end.

Game Info

Portland Trail Blazers (21-28) at Chicago Bulls (30-18) – 2:30 p.m. CT on NBC Sports Chicago (TV), and 670 The Score (Radio)

Projected Starters

Chicago Bulls

1. Ayo Dosunmu
2. Zach LaVine
3. DeMar DeRozan
4. Javonte Green
5. Nikola Vučević

Injury Report: Patrick Williams OUT (Wrist), Lonzo Ball OUT (knee), Derrick Jones Jr. OUT (knee), Alex Caruso OUT (Wrist)

Portland Trail Blazers

1. Anfernee Simmons
2. C.J. McCollum
3. Nassir Little
4. Robert Covington
5. Jusuf Nurkic

Injury Report: Damian Lillard OUT (abdominal), Cody Zeller OUT (knee), Larry Nance Jr. OUT (knee), Norman Powell OUT (personal)

What to Watch For …

•   The Bulls are a better team than the Trail Blazers any way you slice it up. Yet, somehow, Portland got the last laugh in their first meeting in November after they took advantage of a lackluster third quarter from the Bulls that we’ve become all-too-familiar with. Zach LaVine tried to will the Bulls to a win with a 30-point performance, but it wasn’t enough to stop the Trail Blazers from erasing a 20-point halftime deficit for the victory.

•   Josef Nurkić logged a double-double of 18 points and a game-high 12 rebounds the last time these two teams got together. The Portland big is averaging 12 points and 8.5 rebounds this season but has been on a tear in January, averaging 18 points, 13 rebounds, and four assists in 14 games. Nurkić will be the player to watch for the Trail Blazers in this one with Damian Lillard sidelined, the big man that the Bulls once traded to Portland on draft night will be a problem under the rim for Chicago.

•   DeMar DeRozan is averaging 33.4 points per game on 62-of-104 (.596) shooting from the floor over his last five appearances, and the freshly minted NBA All-Star Game starter will be a key to a Bulls victory tonight. If DeRozan can get to his spot and hit his shots at the white-hot clip he’s registered in his last five games, it’ll be tough for Portland to keep up with the Bulls.

•   History Watch: Zach LaVine is currently tied with Scottie Pippen (664) for third on the Bulls’ All-Time three-pointers list, with a chance to pass him at the United Center this afternoon.

•   Some more pre-game reading …

written by

Patrick grew up in Chicago's Bridgeport and Garfield Ridge neighborhoods before moving to the Western Suburbs of Chicago before eventually relocating to the Las Vegas area with his family in 2023. He started with Bleacher Nation in 2021 and has spent time as a Staff Writer and on the Chicago Blackhawks beat. He is currently a writer and editor at Bleacher Nation covering the Chicago Bears and the NFL at large and the author of the Bleacher Nation Newsletter. Patrick is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA).

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