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.


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


Seven years ago today LeBron James slammed the Bulls' championship window shut


Seven years ago today LeBron James slammed the Bulls' championship window shut

The Bulls couldn't have known it at the time, but when LeBron James blocked a Derrick Rose 3-point attempt in the final seconds of Game 5 in the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals, it was the closest those Bulls would ever get to the promised land.

It happened on May 26, 2011, seven long, long, long years ago today.

The game was an ugly one and certainly a fourth quarter the Bulls would love to have back. They took a 12-point lead on a Ronnie Brewer 3-pointer with 3:53 remaining. The Heat closed the game on a 19-4 run, with James' emphatic block on Rose the lasting image of the series.

James finished with a game-high 28 points and 11 rebounds, and added six assists, three steals and two blocks in 46 minutes.

Rose went just 9-for-29, finishing the series shooting 35 percent from the field after being named league MVP over James.

It's probably unfair to say James and James alone shut the Bulls' championship window. Rose's ACL tear the following postseason realistically was the biggest culprit. But these Bulls had won 62 games, had homecourt advantage, had the MVP, the Coach of the Year and all the momentum. And still they couldn't get it done against James.

That win also sent James to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2007. He's been there every year since, though that could change as he faces the Celtics on Sunday in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Steve Kerr told a Michael Jordan Bulls story to give advice to Kevin Durant

Steve Kerr told a Michael Jordan Bulls story to give advice to Kevin Durant

Anyone who lived through the Michael Jordan Bulls remembers those games when he was putting up tons of points, but the Bulls were still struggling overall.

Steve Kerr referenced one of those games to give advice to Kevin Durant during Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals. The TNT broadcast caught the conversation and aired it late in the third quarter.

"When MJ was with the Bulls, we had a playoff game," Kerr began the story. "He kept trying to score and he was scoring, but we weren't getting anything going. Phil Jackson said 'Who's open?' He said, 'John Paxson.'"

Paxson scored 10 of 12 points for the Bulls during a fourth quarter run in Game 5 of the 1991 NBA Finals, the series clincher, and famously hit the game-winning shot in Game 6 of the 1993 NBA Finals to clinch that series. Kerr, who later hit his own championship-winning shot on an assist from Jordan in 1997, was trying to get to get his teammates involved.

"I want to trust your teammates early," Kerr said. "What you're doing is you're getting to the rim and then you're trying to hit him. I want you to trust the first guy and then move. Still attack, still look to score, but trust these guys, OK?"

Watch the video above to see the interaction.

Durant scored 29 points in Game 5 to lead the Warriors, but Houston took a 3-2 series lead with a 98-94 win.