The Chicago Bulls travel to the City of Roses on Tuesday night to take on the Portland Trail Blazers at the Moda Center.
The Bulls have been plagued by COVID-19 issues and have played undermanned in their last three games. Despite that, Chicago has kept the boat afloat behind Zach LaVine and they head to this game coming off an upset win over the Dallas Mavericks. On the other hand, the Blazers are off to a mediocre start. They own a win over the Lakers but their three losses have been by a losing margin of at least 15 points each. The Blazers have won each of their last seven meetings against the Bulls including a 107-103 home win in their most recent matchup on November 29, 2019.
The Chicago Bulls are off to a decent start. The Bulls are 3-4 and are two games behind the current Central Conference leaders Indiana Pacers. Chicago has won three out of their last four games despite playing without big man Lauri Markkanen in their last three outings. Markkanen and three other players will not see action in this game due to COVID-19 protocols. The Bulls are coming off a 118-108 win over the Dallas Mavericks as Zach LaVine and Coby White combined to score 62 points.
LaVine leads the Bulls in scoring at 24.6 points per game this season. White is adding 15.7 points and a team-best 5.8 assists per game for the Bulls. Meanwhile, Wendell Carter is having a good start with 11.7 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. Otto Porter Jr is also contributing 14.9 points and 6.8 rebounds per game for Chicago.
The Bulls are the 10th best scoring team in the NBA at 114.3 points per game this season. They are 21st in rebounding at 43.3 boards grabbed per contest and are 19th in passing at 23.4 assists per outing. Chicago owns the second-worst scoring defense in the league at 121.3 points per game allowed.
The Portland Trail Blazers are 3-3 to start the 2020-21 season. The Blazers lost by 20 points to the Utah Jazz on opening night but bounced back with back to back wins over the Houston Rockets and L.A. Lakers. Since then, they have won just once in their last three games and are coming off a 15-point loss to the Golden State Warriors in a game where Steph Curry lit up the Blazers for a career-high 62 points.
C.J. McCollum leads Portland in scoring at 28.0 points per game while also averaging 4.7 rebounds and 5.0 assists per contest. Damian Lillard is averaging 26.3 points and 6.2 assists per game while Enes Kanter is contributing 12.5 points and 9.2 rebounds per game. Carmelo Anthony and Gary Trent Jr. are the other double-digit scorers for Portland at 12.6 and 11.5 PPG, respectively.
Portland has the 7th best scoring offense in the league at 115.5 points per game scored this season. They are, however, just 27th in passing at 21.7 dimes per contest and 20th off the boards at 43.7 rebounds per outing. They also have the 5th worst scoring defense in the NBA at 119.3 points per game allowed.
Chicago is 6-14 SU in their last 20 games played. The Bulls are 2-9 SU in their last 11 games played on the road. Portland is 3-7 SU in their last 10 games played. The Blazers are 1-1 SU in two home games played this season, and 4-1 SU in their last five January games. Head to head, the Blazers have won each of their last seven games played against the Bulls. Portland is also 10-2 SU in their last 12 home games played against Chicago.
Chicago has won three out of its last four games to improve to 3-4 on the season after a winless 0-3 start.
The Bulls will be playing without Lauri Markkanen for the fourth straight game but are 2-1 without their second-leading scorer and second-leading rebounder. Chicago is also without Tomas Satoransky, Chandler Hutchison, and Ryan Arcidiacono all due to COVID-19 protocols.
Zach LaVine is coming off his best game of the season and the Bulls head to Portland coming off their biggest win of the season.
The Blazers have been inconsistent to start the 2020-21 season. Portland beat the Lakers last Monday but suffered a 15 point loss to the Warriors a week later. The Blazers are just 3-3 on the season but should feel good about this contest after playing their previous four games away from the Moda Center. Lillard is scoring 26.3 points per game but is shooting just 37.5% in two home games this season.
This should be a perfect bounce-back game for the Blazers after being torched by Steph Curry for 62 points. However, Portland’s defense hasn’t been encouraging and with a scorer like LaVine, the Bulls should be able to give them a decent fight even without Markkanen. However, the Blazers have more firepower on hand and should beat the Bulls in a track meet.
Prediction: Portland Trail Blazers
The Bulls are 4-1 ATS in their last five games played. Chicago is 2-1 ATS in three road games played so far this season, and 4-1 ATS in their last five games played against the Western Conference. The Blazers are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games played. Portland is 0-5 ATS in their last five games played at home. Head to head, the Blazers are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games played against the Bulls.
Chicago will be without Markkanen, Satoransky, Hutchison, and Arcidiacono due to COVID-19 protocols. But even without these players the last time out, the Bulls still scored 118 points in a win over Dallas. With Portland having the 5th worst scoring defense in the league, the Bulls should be able to keep this game close and interesting. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think Chicago is going to beat Portland in this game. However, two of the Blazers’ three wins have come by single-digit winning margins. I think Portland is too inconsistent this season to blow out the Bulls the way they did the Warriors.
Prediction: Bulls +10
The total has gone over in four out of the last six games played by the Bulls. Chicago has seen the total go over in five out of their last six January games. The total has gone over in 13 out of the last 20 games played by Portland. The over is 5-1 in the Blazers’ last six games played against the Eastern Conference. The under is 6-1 in their last seven games played against the Central division. Head to head, the under is 5-4-1 in the last 19 meetings between these two teams and 2-0-1 in their last three games played.
These teams are in the bottom five in the league in scoring defense. The Bulls are next to last in that department at 121.3 points per game conceded. Meanwhile, the Blazers have the fifth-worst scoring defense in the NBA at 119.3 points per game allowed this season. Offensively, both rank in the Top 10 in scoring this season. Both teams have conceded at least 126 points in two of their last three games. This is a game that will be won via offense, not defense. Give me the over.
Prediction: Over 234
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