The Chicago Bulls will travel to take on the Portland Trail Blazers at their home court on Tuesday, January 5th, at 9:30 CST on NBATV. This will be the fourth road game for the Chicago Bulls this season and the third home game for the Portland Trail Blazers. The Bulls are coming off of their third win of the season last Sunday night versus the Dallas Mavericks. The Blazers are coming off a road loss, where they allowed Steph Curry to drop a career-high 62 points.
McCollum vs. LaVine
The most interesting matchup in this game will surely be Zach LaVine and CJ McCollum.
Zach LaVine just dropped a season-high 39 points against the Dallas Mavericks last Sunday night. He put up 29 points in the first half against the Luka-less Mavericks off 56% shooting from the field and 33% shooting behind the arc. He also recorded 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals in the game in 39 minutes of play. Lavine has averaged 24.6/4.7/3.7 this season.
CJ McCollum was the second-leading scorer last game in their loss to the Golden State Warriors. McCollum had 28 points off of 43.5% shooting but went 2/8 from distance. He put up 9 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals in their loss. C.J McCollum has the 6th best average PPG at the moment, averaging 28 points per game. He tallies that with 4 rebounds and 5.67 assists per game this season. He has one of the better PER’s in the NBA too, with a 26.53 value.
CJ hardly gets the toughest defensive assignments ahead of Derrick Jones Jr, Robert Covington, or even Gary Trent Jr. He may see LaVine just a few times in this one. However, after the Bulls failed to resign their better perimeter defenders from last season, Kris Dunn and Shaq Harrison, LaVine will see McCollum on the defensive end a decent amount of this game.
In a general sense, both of these teams have pretty inefficient defenses. The Chicago Bulls have allowed the second-most points per game to their opponents this season, with 121.3 points per game allowed. Similar to the Bulls, the Blazers have allowed 119.3 points per game this season, which ranks 26th in the NBA.
The Bulls also record a 1.097 defensive efficiency rating, which is 25th in the NBA. Again, similar to the Bulls, the Trail Blazers themselves have a 1.118 defensive efficiency rating, which ranks them 28th in the NBA this season.
The Bulls and Blazers have allowed over 48% shooting from the field to their opponents this season, along with over 35% shooting from behind the arc to their opponents. Both of these teams certainly have had their defensive struggles this season.
Chicago has a pretty inefficient defense from a perimeter standpoint. Chicago’s opponents have shot the 7th most three-point shots per game on them this season. Plus, the Bulls have allowed their opponents to shoot 37.3% from behind the arc as a team this season, which ranks as the 10th worst percentage in the NBA.
The Blazers are heavily skewed towards shooting the three-point shot this season, as they have four players shooting above or near 40% at the moment. They have shot and made the second-most threes per game against their opponents this season.
Trail Blazers are strong with the ball too. They have turned the ball over just 11.8 times per game this season, the second-best in NBA this season. However, the Chicago Bulls have forced 16.9 turnovers per game against their opponents this season, which is the 7th best standing in the NBA.
The Trail Blazers have two players who stand in the top ten for points per game with C.J McCollum (28 PPG) and Damian Lillard (26.33 PPG). They have many bench pieces that can attribute to their scoring too.
The Bulls have put up the 10th most points per game this season with 114.3 points per game. Plus, they are shooting 45.4% from the field and are an above-average rebounding team this season with 53.9 rebounds per game (14th).
Zach LaVine has averaged 24.57 points per game this season (13th) as the Bulls’ leading scorer. Moreover, Coby White and Otto Porter Jr. each average near 15 points per game for the Bulls this season, which will help them too.
This game will have to be done mostly on the offensive side between both teams. The Bulls have the advantage in points in the paint, field goal percentage, effective field goal percentage, rebounds, and assists. Although, the Blazers are much better at three-point shooting, running fast breaks, and not turning over the ball.
Per ESPN rankings, the Portland Trail Blazers rank 12th on the NBA power rankings this week, and the Bulls rank 29th. But, the Trail Blazers did split games with the Golden State Warriors, who are ranked 22nd this week. However, the Blazers certainly have impressive wins against the Lakers and Rockets this season.
The issue for the Bulls is being without their starting power forward, Lauri Markkanen, and their backup point guard, Tomas Satoransky. Plus, their bench has been subtracted from three players, including Satoransky.
Portland has a relatively easy schedule coming up, starting with this game. They will want to start right in this one by grabbing a win and improving from their current .500 record of 3-3 on the season.