The Portland Trail Blazers (9-8) are looking to bounce back from Thursday’s 104-101 road loss to the Houston Rockets. On Saturday, the Blazers face the Chicago Bulls (7-10) at the United Center.
It's the second of two games between the two this season as Portland will look to even up the regular season series, looking to avenge a Jan. 5 loss to the Bulls where Coby White recorded 21 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists, leading Chicago to a 111-108 win at Moda Center. In the loss, CJ McCollum led the way with 26 points to go along with five rebounds, four assists and three steals.
So far this season, Chicago and Portland are averaging 115.3 and 114.5 points per game, respectively, which is good for fifth and sixth in the league.
The Blazers have listed Robert Covington (concussion) as questionable for Saturday’s contest, while Derrick Jones Jr. (left foot sprain), CJ McCollum (left midfoot fracture), Jusuf Nurkic (right wrist fracture) and Zach Collins (left ankle stress fracture) are out.
For Chicago, Wendell Carter Jr. (right quadricep; contusion) and Devon Dotson (G League - On Assignment) are out.
Ahead of Saturday’s game, our Trail Blazers Insider Dwight Jaynes discussed how earning consistent Trail Blazer playing time as a young player has not been easy:
As we watched Gary Trent and Anfernee Simons take turns making big shots for the Trail Blazers Thursday night, it struck me that they both, at least, appear to be solid NBA rotational players.
And it also occurred to me how difficult it was for them to get consistent playing time for the Trail Blazers. If not for injuries to teammates, I’m not sure we would be getting much of a glimpse of either of them, even now.
Under Terry Stotts, young players -- other than notable exception Damian Lillard -- have had a very difficult time breaking through.
And you can go all the way back to CJ McCollum, a first-round pick, who never started as a rookie and had only three starts in his second season -- after establishing himself as a very good shooter almost from the start.
Yes, McCollum, in his second year, was in line behind Wesley Matthews and when Matthews was hurt, Arron Afflalo. And it took injuries to both those players for him to sneak into the starting lineup.
Meyers Leonard never did win Stotts’ confidence and became a favorite target for many fans for his faults -- and a contract that paid him about $10 million a year. Even after a clutch playoff performance in his second season, he was mostly buried on the bench in Portland.
He departed for Miami last season and became a starter for the Eastern Conference champions and Erik Spoelstra, one of the most demanding coaches in the NBA -- until an injury derailed his season.
And Pat Riley gave him $10 million to return to Miami this season.
Trent played in only 15 games his rookie season, but his big break came late last season, when injuries left Stotts little choice but to play him.
McCollum and Rodney Hood were out of action when Trent, who did not score in the first nine games last season and got inconsistent playing time during the first half, got more consistent minutes.
The rest was history. He defended well, which earned him time in the beginning, and when his shot started falling, he was firmly in the rotation.
Read more here.
The Blazers are +2.5 point underdogs against the Bulls, odds provided by our partner PointsBet.
Here’s what you need to know about Saturday’s matchup --
- Damian Lillard added 24 points (6-17 FG, 3-11 3-PT, 9-11 FT), five rebounds and nine assists in 37 minutes of work on Jan. 5. Lillard is averaging 27.0 points and 7.5 assists over his last two games against the Bulls.
- Robert Covington finished with his highest scoring total as a Trail Blazer against the Bulls on Jan. 5, recording 14 points on 5-of-10 shooting (4-9 3-PT) to go with six rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block. Covington recorded five assists against the Bulls on Jan. 24, 2018 while with Philadelphia, which tied his career-high.
- In two games against Chicago last season, Carmelo Anthony averaged 24.0 points (50.0% FG, 50.0% 3-PT, 87.5% FT), 9.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists.
- Otto Porter finished with 19 points (7-14 FG, 4-7 3-PT, 1-2 FT), a season-high 13 rebounds and one assist on Jan. 5.
- Coby White recorded 21 points (8-19 FG, 2-7 3-PT, 3-4 FT), 10 rebounds and five assists against Portland on Jan. 5, one his three double-doubles of the season.
POINT SPREAD: -- Trail Blazers: +2.5 (-110) – Bulls: -2.5 (-110)
HOW TO WATCH:
When: Saturday, January 30
Where: United Center | Chicago, Illinois
Start time: 5:00 p.m. PST
TV channel: NBCSNW, the official network of the Portland Trail Blazers
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