Bulls vs. Trail Blazers game preview and thread: Portland has surrendered

Mar 24, 2023 - 4:32 PM
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Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Today, our 34-38 Chicago Bulls travel to the Mood Center to face off against the 32-40 Portland Trail Blazers.

3.5 games behind the four Western Conference teams with an identical 36-37 record and ranked from the ninth through the 12th seeds, the 13th-seeded Trail Blazers appear destined to sink into the NBA lottery this season after all, and thus would keep the lottery-protected pick they owe Chicago.

Despite being on the road and most likely missing their top defender Alex Caruso and their best overall player and lone All-Star, small forward DeMar DeRozan, the Bulls should still win. The Vegas odds reflect that, favoring Chicago by two points tonight.

That’s because Portland appears to be more or less throwing in the towel on the 2022-23 season. The Blazers will be missing at least two starters tonight, probably three, and maybe as many as four, in addition to a few role players. Portland has gone a paltry 3-7 across its last ten games, and is probably too far behind its Western Conference competitors to crack the top 10.

Chicago is just 1.5 games up on the 33-40 Indiana Pacers for the East’s tenth seed. It needs every “gimme” W it can get, assuming it wants to make its very small-minded goal of qualifying for the 2023 play-in tournament and being immediately booted out of said play-in tournament.

Injury Report:

This preview is up early so these are subject to change:

For the Bulls, Caruso (left mid-foot soreness) and DeRozan (right quad strain) are questionable to play, while Javonte Green is probable to suit up.

Portland appears to be in full end-of-season possibly-fake injury mode as it looks to ramp up the tank. Two starters, power forward Jerami Grant (left quad contusion) and shooting guard Anfernee Simons (right foot soreness), have already been ruled out. Another, center Jusuf Nurkic (right knee soreness), is questionable. Dame Dolla is probable to play, while Justise Winslow, who’s always out, is... out.

Game Time: 9 p.m. CT on NBC Sports Chicago

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