Lillard Stuns Bulls, Hits Game-Winner (Chicago, IL) – After having their game against the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday postponed due to COVID-19 protocols, the Bulls returned to the court on Saturday against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Chicago beat Portland 111-108 on January 5th, a game they trailed 20 points in. One of the major keys to that comeback was balanced scoring, as seven players scored in double figures. CJ McCollum will not be playing for the Blazers in this game, but Portland still has one of the top 10 players in the league with Damian Lillard. The Bulls will need another balanced scoring effort and a defensive focus on Lillard to emerge victorious.
Bulls hit six threes in the 1st quarter
Lillard led his team to an early 13-9 lead with 8 minutes left, scoring or assisting on 11 of those 13 points. Garret Temple hit the Bulls 5th three of the quarter to cap off an 8-0 run, giving them a 28-23 lead with 2.5 minutes left in the first frame. Chicago also had 9 assists on their 12 made field goals, as they led 34-32 going into the 2nd period.
Portland goes on 20-4 run, lead by double-digits going into 2nd half
The Bulls started off the 2nd quarter well, using an 8-2 run to lead 42-34 with 10 minutes left. From that point, Portland went on a 20-4 run to lead 54-46, with 4.5 minutes left in the 1st half. Gary Trent Jr. sparked that run for the Blazers, as he scored 10 points and hit two threes during that stretch.
Portland outscored the Bulls 32-19 in the second quarter, to lead 64-53 going into the second half. The Blazers shot 63% from the field in the 2nd frame, compared to the Bulls who went cold with 26% shooting. Lillard led his team with 15 points and 6 assists. Coby White led the Bulls with 16 points and 4 assists.
Lavine and Markkanen draw the Bulls within striking distance
The Blazers increased their lead pretty quickly to begin the 3rd. Lillard scored 8 points to give them a 77-58 advantage with 9.5 minutes left. Lauri Markannen and Zach Lavine kept the Bulls in the game, as they combined to score 20 of their 34 total points in the 3rd. Markkanen hit a three to cap off an 11-2 run to end the quarter. The Blazers led 93-86 going into the 4th.
Chicago started off the 4th well, as they outscored Portland 11-6 to trail 99-97 with 9 minutes left. Shortly after, the Bulls regained the lead for the first time since the 2nd quarter, at 103-101 behind a three from Tomas Satoransky.
Lillard responded with back-to-back three pointers which gave Portland the lead back at 109-107 with 6 minutes left. The Bulls later tied the game at 113 with 3 minutes left, behind Markannen’s 6th three of the game. Lavine hit a late three to give the Bulls a 120-115 lead with 30 seconds left, which seemed to be the dagger.
Lillard hits the game-winner
After the Lavine three, Robert Covington scored on a drive to cut the Bulls lead to 120-117. Coby White responded with two free throws to give Chicago a 122-117 lead with 11 seconds remaining. On the next play, Lillard hit a three to reduce the Bulls lead to 122-120 with 9 seconds left. Gary Trent then forced a tie up with Lavine and won the jump ball to give Portland the ball back. Lillard took full advantage of the opportunity, hitting the game-winning three with no time remaining. Blazers beat the Bulls, 123-122
Lillard scored 14 of his 44 points in the 4th to lead Portland to a win. Enes Kanter also had a double-double, with 22 points and 11 rebounds.
Lauri Markannen and Zach Lavine led the Bulls, as they had 31 and 26 points respectively. Thaddeus Young also had 11 of Chicago’s 31 assists.
Portland (10-8) will face Giannis and the Bucks(11-8) next on Monday at 7pm CT.
Chicago (7-11) will look to end their three-game losing streak on Monday as they play the Knicks(9-11) at 7pm CT.
Lillard Stuns Bulls, Hits Game-Winner