Bulls

Five Things to Watch: Bulls back in action against Trail Blazers

Five Things to Watch: Bulls back in action against Trail Blazers

Watch as the Bulls take on theTrail Blazers tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Bulls Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Bulls Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Bulls.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH

1. Bouncing back. The Bulls have lost eight games this season, their latest coming Saturday against the Mavericks. Entering Monday's game against the Blazers, the Bulls are 5-2 following a loss. Portland enters the game having won two straight after losing five of six, including one at home to the Bulls on Nov. 15.

2. A rested Dwyane Wade. Wade did not travel with the team to Dallas on Saturday, meaning he should be well-rested to take on the Blazers. In that November game Wade scored 19 points on 8-for-18 shooting and added five rebounds and five assists. Wade has sat out one other game this year - Nov. 20 in LA - and responded the following game with 22 points against the Nuggets.

3. An excellent back court. Had it not been for Russell Westbrook and James Harden tearing up the league, we'd likely be talking more about the work Damian Lillard is doing. The point guard is averaging 27.8 points (sixth in the league) on a career-best 46.3 percent from the field, and he's making 2.5 triples per game. C.J. McCollum, his backcourt mate, is also having a career year with averages of 21.9 points on 46.5 percent shooting and 3.7 assists. The Bulls will have their hands full.

4. Jimmy Butler's streak. With 26 points against the Mavericks on Saturday, Jimmy Butler has now score 20 or more points in 13 straight games. That's a career-best mark for him, and in last month's win over the Blazers he scored 27 points with 12 boards and five assists in the win. The Bulls will need that again against a Portland team looking for revenge.

5. Chicago Bulls Charities Night. Throughout the game CSN will  be highlighting the work that Bulls players and coaches do throughout the Chicago community. Last year alone the team was part of 200 programs that the team said impacted "more than 87,000 Chicagoans." Learn more about the event here.

[SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]

- Check out the latest stats and standings to make sure you’re ready for action

- Channel Finder: Make sure you know where to watch

- NBC Sports App FAQ: All your questions answered

- Latest on the Bulls: All of the most recent news and notes

- See what Bulls fans are talking about before, during and after the game with Bulls Pulse

 

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Recap of the NBA 2020 All-Star game in Chicago

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Recap of the NBA 2020 All-Star game in Chicago

David Haugh, Alex Maragos and Chris Bleck join Kap on the panel.

0:00 - The NBA All-Star Game is over and the city was the biggest star of the weekend. The guys weigh in on the thrilling finish and if the rule changes saved the All-Star game.

5:30 - Michael Jordan was not in the "House That MJ Built." Should his Airness have had more of a presence?

9:00 - Michael Reinsdorf and John Paxson spent the weekend asking some of the sport's heavy hitters about how to fix their front office. Will the changes work?

13:00 - Jesse Rogers joins Kap from Cubs camp in Mesa to talk about Javy Baez's comments about not being ready to play some days. They also discuss Kris Bryant's candid comments about his contract and his future with the Cubs.

18:00 - The guys weigh in on Tom Rickett's comments on the state of the team's baseball budget.

26:00 - Chuck Garfien joins Kap from Sox camp in Glendale. They talk about the excitement level with everybody in camp, the team's thoughts on the Astros scandal, the chances Nick Madrigal breaks camp with the team and the Carlos Rodon's progress from Tommy John surgery.

Listen here or in the embedded player below.

 

Sports Talk Live Podcast

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NBA Power Rankings: Spirited Elam ending caps off a successful All-Star weekend

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USA Today

NBA Power Rankings: Spirited Elam ending caps off a successful All-Star weekend

The city of Chicago is drawing rave reviews for putting on a tremendous show at All-Star weekend. Sure, it was brutally cold last Thursday and Friday, but once inside the venues, the participants and spectators were treated to some spectacular entertainment.

The weekend ended with the most spirited All-Star game competition we’ve seen in decades... maybe ever. Not many people had heard about the Elam ending which establishes a target score to win the game rather than a typical timed format. It had received positive reviews during the summer TBT (The Basketball Tournament) which is a winner take all team competition involving players representing their former universities. Chris Paul suggested to NBA commissioner Adam Silver that the format could be a big hit for the All-Star game, and boy was he right.

The 10 players on the court competed with the ferocity normally saved for the NBA Finals. We got to enjoy the world’s best players completely locked in on the defensive end, refusing to give any ground, and going at each other with bone-jarring screens and physical back to the basket pounding.

Some analysts feared the 24 points added to the leading team’s total to establish the target score would result in a fourth quarter that would be over in just a few minutes. Instead, the greatest players in the game battled for almost 45 minutes, with the pressure to get to the target score resulting in missed free throws by normally excellent shooters and a blown uncontested lay-up by Team Giannis’ Kemba Walker.

Team LeBron wound up winning by two, anks to a made free throw by Chicago native Anthony Davis to reach the target score of 157, and when it was over, all the players talked about how much fun it was to compete under the new format.

Yes, the 24-point idea came about to honor the memory of Kobe Bryant, and you know that Bryant would have loved the way his brothers competed with all their will and talent. Matter of fact, my only concern was that the players were competing TOO hard. For example, Giannis Antetokounmpo’s chasedown block of LeBron James in the closing minutes was spectacular, but can you imagine if either superstar had been hurt by tumbling to the ground after meeting at the rim?

You can expect some tweaks to the format in future years, and it’s probably unlikely the players will compete with the same kind of physicality we saw Sunday night, given the special circumstances involved with the whole weekend serving as a tribute to Kobe.

But it looks like the NBA has found a format that will re-energize the All-Star game, and that will be the biggest takeaway from a very successful weekend in Chicago.

Now, a look at this week’s power rankings as the schedule resumes on Thursday.