The Chicago Bulls are struggling to find any consistency and traded wins and losses over the last eight games. One of their best performances of the season came at Portland last month, and the Bulls will try to bounce back from a loss at Dallas by blasting the visiting Trail Blazers again on Monday.
Portland Trail Blazers vs Chicago Bulls
When: 8:00 PM ET, Monday, December 5, 2016
Where: United Center, Chicago, Illinois
|711||PORTLAND||-6.5 (-110)||216.5 (-110)||180
TV: 8 p.m. ET, CSN Northwest (Portland), CSN Chicago
PREDICTION: Bulls 115, Trail Blazers 102
Chicago ripped Portland 113-88 on Nov. 15 and showed off its potential in a 111-105 home win over the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday. The Bulls failed to keep up the momentum on the second night of a back-to-back with Dwyane Wade sitting out to rest and ended up handing the Dallas Mavericks their fourth win in a 107-82 thrashing. The Trail Blazers are coming off a 3-1 homestand and managed to win for the first time this season without scoring 100 points in a 99-92 triumph over Miami on Saturday. “We get stops, we get more physical, we come up with rebounds and loose balls and we just find a way,” Portland star Damian Lillard told reporters. “When you’ve got to gut one out like that and find a way when your offense isn’t there, I think that shows great character for our team and it shows growth. It shows that we’re growing.”
ABOUT THE TRAIL BLAZERS (11-10): Portland is beginning a stretch of eight of nine on the road and is leaving with some confidence after back-to-back wins. “It was good to get these last two wins here at home and go into the road trip with some momentum,” Blazers guard Allen Crabbe told the team’s website. “We know how difficult it is to win but I feel like if we just continue to focus on what we did all week, which is defense, if we carry that over, we’ll be in a good position.” Crabbe averaged 15.5 points in the last two games to reach double figures in scoring in back-to-back contests for the first time since October.
ABOUT THE BULLS (11-8): Chicago is waiting for a Crabbe-like breakout from forward Nikola Mirotic, who failed to score in double figures in any of the last four games and bottomed out with a scoreless effort on 0-of-4 shooting on Saturday. “Make sure he understands that we’re here with him,” Bulls guard Jimmy Butler told reporters of how the team is helping Mirotic. “He is still a part of this organization, and we need him on this team. … We need Niko to play, man. And when he starts thinking, it only gets worse. When you just play, great things happen.” Mirotic is 0-of-11 from 3-point range in the last three games.
1. Blazers SF Al-Farouq Aminu (calf) missed the last 13 games but returned to practice last week and is nearing a return.
2. Bulls G Rajon Rondo recorded a triple-double on Friday but slumped to two points, two rebounds and two assists on Saturday.
3. The visiting team took each of the last three in the series, with Portland earning a 103-95 win in its last trip to Chicago on Feb. 27.