While the rest of the country was watching NCAA underdogs Lehigh and Ohio University knock off powerhouses like Duke and Michigan, we were locked in on Bulls vs. Blazers (although we did frantically search for our TV remote’s ‘Last’ button during each and every commercial).
In an evening that was full of upsets, this game saw a heavy favorite go down, as well, with the Blazers topping the Bulls 100-89.
This was the typical trap game, the Bulls coming off an emotional win two nights ago against the Heat, and Portland playing their first game since firing head coach Nate McMillan, waiving former number one overall pick Greg Oden and trading starters Marcus Camby and Gerald Wallace.
Coming in to tonight, the Blazers had lost 7 of their last 9 games. In his first game as interim head coach, Kaleb Canales had the team playing a disciplined style of basketball that fans had not seen since the early part of this NBA season. Portland turned the ball over just 8 times, while shooting 49% from the field and 52% from 3-point range.
The Blazers got solid contributions across the board, led by LaMarcus Aldridge’s 21 points. Wesley Matthews chipped in with 18, while Raymond Felton and Nicolas Batum posted 16 and 15 points, respectively.
For the Bulls, Derrick Rose missed his second straight game with a groin injury and C.J. Watson was again inserted into the starting lineup. Watson struggled, scoring 10 points but turning the ball over 5 times. Wednesday night’s hero, John Lucas III, didn’t look good tonight either, scoring 8 points on just 3-for-11 shooting.
The one positive for the night was Carlos Boozer, who continued his hot streak, scoring 22 points and pulling down 14 rebounds. Over the last 5 games, Boozer has averaged 18.4 points and 8.8 rebounds.
The bottom line is if you can’t shoot the ball (42% FG, 29% on 3’s) and don’t play defense, you won’t win in the NBA, no matter who you’re opponent is.
The Bulls will look to rebound tomorrow night at the United Center vs. Philadelphia. (7:00 PM CST) They may be without Derrick Rose for another game or two, as he is listed as day-to-day with a groin strain.