Coach Nate McMillan put Martell Webster(notes) in the starting lineup to improve Portland’s 3-point shooting. The Trail Blazers performed just fine from beyond the arc without Webster against the Chicago Bulls last season.
After Webster helped end their scoring slump with a big game, the Blazers host the Bulls on Monday night for the first time since a blowout win more than a year ago.
Portland (10-5) had lost two of three and was held under 100 points in five straight contests before beating Minnesota 106-78 on Saturday night.
One night after going 4 for 19 from 3-point range in a 108-94 loss at Golden State, McMillan decided to ditch the three-guard lineup he had used for nine straight games. He replaced Andre Miller(notes) with Webster, who responded with a season-high 21 points and 13 rebounds.
Webster went 4 for 7 from beyond the arc, hitting three straight to key a rally in the third quarter.
“You need a guy who can keep that defense honest,” McMillan said. “If they don’t, (Webster) has the ability to hurt them with the 3-point ball.”
The Trail Blazers made 41.7 percent (10 for 24) of their 3-point attempts after being held under 30 percent in three of their previous five games.
“It’s been awhile since we’ve seen guys make shots,” McMillan told the Blazers’ official Web site. “We’re very capable of knocking those shots down and we just have to keep taking them.”
Webster shot a career-best 38.8 percent from long range in 2007-08, but played in one game the following season due to a stress fracture in his left foot.
Even without Webster, Portland made 46.2 percent of its attempts from 3-point range in two wins over Chicago (6-6) last season. The Blazers hit seven 3s in a 116-74 victory over the Bulls on Nov. 19, 2008.
That is the largest margin of victory for Portland since beating Dallas 120-75 on Nov. 17, 1997.
The Blazers went on to sweep the season series with a 109-95 win at Chicago on Jan. 12.
The Bulls struggled defensively in the first two games of a six-game trip, losing 112-93 to Denver on Saturday night after being defeated 108-93 by the Los Angeles Lakers two days earlier. Chicago gave up 100 points in one of its previous 10 games.
Chicago had a 14-point lead in the first half against the Nuggets, but was outscored by 22 in the second half and had yet another poor shooting game. The Bulls went 2 for 11 from 3-point range and are shooting a league-worst 26.2 percent on 3s this season.
Derrick Rose(notes) went 1 for 6 from beyond the arc, but finished with a season-high 28 points after scoring 20 against the Lakers. The second-year point guard reached the 20-point mark in consecutive games for the first time this season.