Bulls-Trail Blazers Preview

The Bulls got dominated last night. There isn’t really any other way to put it. Los Angeles shot 49.3 percent from the field while the Bulls shot 33.7 percent. The Clippers had 26 fast break points to the Bulls 10. We are all too old to go through everything the Bulls got beaten in. Pick a stat and it probably doesn’t favor the Bulls.

Joakim Noah was made to look nonexistent by DeAndre Jordan. Jo was 0-6 from the field with four points in his 30 minutes. Jordan had seven blocks and two steals.

And most importantly, and unfortunately for Chicago fans, the Bulls got outworked. Blake Griffin and the Clippers were diving for loose balls, beating Chicago at its own game.

They allowed the Clippers to score 101 points, which means the Bulls have allowed 100 points in their last three games.

The Bulls find themselves in an odd position right now. Their offense is clearly in trouble without Derrick Rose. They also lost Kyle Korver in the offseason which hurt. But it’s not just their offense that has taken a dip.

The defense that the Bulls have played the last three games has not been good. Teams have racked up offensive ratings of 113.1 (Celtics), 108.7 (Suns) and 109.8 (Clippers). The last time the Bulls allowed 100 points in at least three straight games was in 2010, when they let opponents score triple digits for four consecutive games.

But Chicago is still 5-4, and they lost to a very good Clippers team. They just need to buckle down defensively to get back to winning.

The Trail Blazers are off to a 5-4 start thanks in part to Rookie of the Year candidate Damian Lillard. He is averaging 19.3 points and 6.4 assists per game.

Portland is 4-5, but is currently on a two-game winning streak after dropping four straight.

The Bulls don’t normally lose two games in a row. But they also don’t normally have three straight poor performances on defense. If the Bulls are going to start reeling off wins, their defense has to get closer to what it was the last two seasons. Chicago’s offense isn’t good enough to consistently score around 105 points per game. They need to get back to Tom Thobideau basketball, holding teams to low scoring and out-hustling opponents.

But the Bulls’ offense might get a boost against Portland. The Blazers are 28th in defensive rating (108.5). They have allowed more than 103 points in six of their nine games so far this season. The Bulls have scored 100 just twice this season. Some offensive confidence could go a long way.

A positive from last night’s Clippers debacle: The Bulls grabbed 20 offensive rebounds. You’re probably thinking “but that’s because they missed so many shots.” And you’d be partly correct, but those 20 O-boards gave them a 40.4 offensive rebound rate, an extremely high number. It’s not pretty that they grabbed so many offensive rebounds and still lost by 20, but it’s positive that they hit the glass hard, which is something that helped them win games last season.


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