CHICAGO – To be fair, it’s been a rough few days for the two teams that met at the United Center Wednesday night, even if one of the squads was still a heavy favorite.
The Bulls were once again playing without the services of Kris Dunn, Zack LaVine, Otto Porter Jr. or Lauri Markkanen. In fact, the last player on that list was hospitalized overnight in Toronto after experiencing extreme fatigue in Chicago’s short-handed loss to the Raptors on Tuesday.
But things weren’t much better for the playoff-bound Blazers. On Monday night, they watched as Jusuf Nurkic suffer a gruesome leg injury in the second overtime of a win over the Nets at home. Wednesday was the first time the group, which was shaken by the injury, would take the floor following the center’s injury.
Safe to say it hasn’t been the best 48 hours for either team, but at least Portland got to enjoy victory rather easily.
While they were down Nurkic, the Blazers were still overpowering to the depleted Bulls, who started Wayne Selden, Brandon Sampson, Antonio Blakeney, and Shaq Harrison alongside regular starter Robin Lopez. The Bulls led only once and never after the first 2:10 seconds as their opponents led by 13 points after one and stayed well ahead the rest of the time in a 118-98 win.
With just six games to go, the Bulls have 21-55 record, as Jim Boylen and his staff weigh the benefit of bringing back the injured players or shutting them down the final two weeks of the season. At least they have a few days to think about it and get some of their players healthy before facing the Raptors at the United Center on Saturday night.
Shaq Harrison led the patchwork Bulls with 21 points with Lopez and Cristiano Felicio adding 15 points. Seth Curry had 20 points off the bench for Portland, who shot just under 52 percent from the floor.
It was certainly a rough few days for each team, but at least Portland got to enjoy a little bit of success on Wednesday.