Enhanced Box Score: Bulls 124, Trail Blazers 96 – March 24, 2023
There isn’t much to say about this game … which is actually the best-case-scenario!
With Damian Lillard, Jerami Grant, Anfernee Simons, and Jusuf Nurkic all stuck on the bench tonight, the Chicago Bulls had no excuses. This was 100 percent a game they should have won, and they did just that in blowout fashion.
Indeed, I’m not going to hand out any celebratory cookies or Capri Suns. This is what an experienced and competent team is supposed to do, and the only reason the win stands out is because of how many times the Bulls failed to take advantage of similar opportunities this season.
I have to specifically commend Zach LaVine for setting the tone from the jump. The Chicago Bulls’ max player helped ignite an early 8-0 run with an explosive drive and dunk to put the Bulls up 14-7. Everything looked as easy as it should for LaVine against one of the NBA’s worst defenses, and it led to 33 points and 8 assists in just 30 minutes of action.
With DeMar DeRozan sidelined, Billy Donovan also went with a new-look lineup that included Coby White, Ayo Dosunmu, Dalen Terry, Derrick Jones Jr., and Nikola Vucevic. While I was initially concerned about the sheer lack of shooting on the floor, this five-man combination didn’t need to hit long-range shots to embarrass Portland’s second unit. They were able to string together an 11-0 run that helped Chicago eventually win the second quarter 32-19. White and Terry each shared the ball tremendously well, with White finishing his evening with a season-high 9 assists to go along with 19 points in a +24 performance.
Again, at the end of the day, this was nothing more than the Bulls winning a winnable game. The question now is whether they can carry any of the momentum into their next three matchups in LA. Both the Lakers and Clippers are in the thick of their own seeding race, so the Bulls better be prepared for a much tougher challenge.
Check out the full box score here.