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The Portland Trail Blazers (3-3) and Chicago Bulls (3-4) matchup on Jan. 5 marks the first of two meetings between the two this season. Portland will visit Chicago on Jan. 30.
Last season, the Blazers won the season series against the Bulls, 2-0 to earn yet another season sweep. Portland has swept the season-series against Chicago each of the last three seasons.
As the two teams prepare for their first meeting of this shortened season, the Bulls are dealing with a COVID-19 scare within the organization, which includes positive tests for five-year guard Tomas Satoransky and a team support-staff member, according to head coach Billy Donovan.
Plus, the Bulls have released their injury report, revealing they will be without a total of four players due to COVID-19 protocols.Ryan Arcidiacono (health and safety protocols), Chandler Hutchison (not with team - self isolating), Lauri Markkanen (health and safety protocols) and Tomas Satoransky (not with team - self isolating) are out.
On the season, Markkanen is averaging 17.3 points and 6.8 rebounds, while Hutchison has averaged 3.3 points and 4.3 rebounds in 13.0 minutes in 4 appearances.
As for the Blazers, Rodney Hood (left quad strain) is listed as questionable and Zach Collins (left ankle stress fracture) is out for Tuesday’s game.
Our Trail Blazers Insider, Dwight Jaynes offered up this advice for Portland’s defense following Sunday’s loss to the Warriors…Perhaps Harry Giles' quickness could have helped Trail Blazers trap Steph Curry --
On a night when you give up 137 points to the Golden State Warriors and Steph Curry scores almost half those points, you really have to wonder if just a little something more could have been done to stop the Warriors’ All-Star guard.
I mean, all the time we see teams double- and triple-teaming Damian Lillard, blitzing him on screens and just getting the ball out of his hands.
But the Trail Blazers under Terry Stotts seldom employ such strategy, except for the odd game against James Harden.
Curry single-handedly destroyed Portland in a 137-122 Golden State win Sunday night in San Francisco. And right down to the end of the game, when Curry was bouncing around the court in glee after passing the 60-point plateau, finally finishing with 62, Portland seemed powerless to do anything about it.
“Well, I’d be glad to sit down and watch some video with you, but when we did (double-team Curry) he split the double-teams and got into the lane in the first half,” Stotts said afterward. “We doubled him one time and then he quickly got the ball back and got a three off.”
Curry was getting free constantly on the way to hitting 18 of his 31 shots, including 8-16 from three and 18 of 19 free throws.
Stotts was asked about one play with under three minutes to go and Portland still within striking distance, when Curry came off a screen at the top wide open and hit Andrew Wiggins in a corner for a three,
“The reason he passes to Wiggins in the corner is because we were up on the ball screen,” Stotts said.”He got by us and we came to help and then he kicked it out.
“So, it’s not like we didn’t give him a lot of attention. Our bigs were up, he just, like I said in the first half, our bigs were up and he got into the lane. So, it’s not like we didn’t try.”
Oh, the bigs did try. But Stotts had obviously chosen to go with offense down the stretch of the game, trying to outscore the Warriors. If he had intended on going with a defensive unit, he wouldn’t have had Carmelo Anthony and Enes Kanter on the floor.
In fact, he might have used a defensive lineup, which could have included Harry Giles -- a big man quick enough to do a better job of hedging Curry after the pick.
Read more from Dwight here.
The Blazers are -9.5 point favorites against the Bulls, odds provided by our partner PointsBet.
Here’s what you need to know about the Blazers and Bulls matchup --
Carmelo Anthony averaged 24.0 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists in two games against the Bulls last season, including a 23 point, 11 rebound double-double on November 29. Anthony has scored at least 20 points in 10 of his last 12 outings against Chicago, and recorded a career-high six steals against the Bulls in 2013 while with the Knicks.
In two games against Chicago last season, Damian Lillard averaged 20.5 points (46.4% FG, 26.7% 3-PT, 84.6% FT), 2.0 rebounds and 9.0 assists.
Zach LaVine averaged 23.0 points, 3.5 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.50 steals in two games against the Trail Blazers last season. LaVine finished with 28 points on 8-of-24 shooting in his last matchup with Portland on Nov. 29, 2019, a career-best in scoring against the Trail Blazers.
In two games against Portland last season, Wendell Carter Jr. averaged 14.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 1.5 steals.
MILESTONE WATCH: Terry Stotts (478 career victories) will move past Scott Skiles for 35th on the all-time NBA wins list with the Trail Blazers next victory.
— Portland Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) January 5, 2021
POINT SPREAD: -- Trail Blazers: -9.5 (-110) -- Bulls: +9.5 (-110)
HOW TO WATCH:
When: Tuesday, January 5
Where: Moda Center | Portland, OR
Start time: 7:30 p.m. PT
TV channel: NBCSNW, the official network of the Portland Trail Blazers
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