After building up as much as a 20-point lead in the first half of the game, the Chicago Bulls completely fell apart in the second half against the Portland Trail Blazers to lose 112-107 on the road. Bulls All-Star guard Zach LaVine had an opportunity to potentially send the game to overtime with an open 3-point attempt with 12 seconds left on the clock, but the ball clanked off the front of the rim, giving the Blazers the win.
After the game, LaVine said that he wasn't surprised he was as open as he was, but he was shocked that he missed it.
"I got wide open off a pindown, great play and great shot, just missed it. Probably the most open shot I had tonight," LaVine said.
It was certainly as open as LaVine was all night, as the Blazers got stuck behind a great screen set by Tony Bradley which allowed the sharpshooting guard to get an ocean's amount of space between him and the nearest defender to get off the shot.
It was a tough miss for LaVine, but it should've never come down to that final shot. The Bulls were in full control for two quarters, shooting an absurd 56.5 percent from the field, and 44.4 percent from deep. DeMar DeRozan looked to be on track to add yet another sterling game to his MVP candidacy with 15 points, while LaVine tacked on 18 points of his own in the first half.
On defense, the Bulls were even better. They held Blazers guard CJ McCollum scoreless in the first half, and allowed Damian Lillard to rack up just six points, while going 1-for-6 from the field. Alex Caruso and Lonzo Ball were absolute pests guarding Lillard and McCollum, forcing other Portland players to beat them, which certainly didn't work.
But then the third quarter rolled around, and Chicago racked up 10 turnovers, resulting in 18 points for the Blazers. Lillard and McCollum were still struggling to get anything going on offense, but Norman Powell and Larry Nance Jr. picked up the slack, as Chicago's lack of frontcourt size began to rear its ugly head.
Nance bodied smaller guards like Ball and Javonte Green in the post resulting in easy buckets. When guarded by the Bulls' lone healthy big man in Bradley, it didn't yield great results for Chicago. By the end of the third quarter, Portland cut down Chicago's 15-point halftime lead to just four points.
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Then came the fourth quarter and against a player like Lillard, who is known for his late-game heroics, it's always bound to be interesting. McCollum drilled a crucial 3-pointer to give Portland its first lead of the game since the first quarter with seven minutes left and, after trading the lead back and forth, Lillard scored eight points over the final five minutes of the game to give Portland the lead for good. LaVine missed three 3-pointers in the final minute of the game that would've either given Chicago the lead or sent the game to overtime, but he missed each opportunity.
DeRozan struggled mightily in the second half, going 0-for-7 from the field and totaling seven points, all of which came at the foul line. After the strong first half from both DeRozan and LaVine, the duo combined for seven of Chicago's 11 turnovers in the second half, and no one else on the Bulls stepped up to fill the void on offense.
"We just didn't play the way we should have in the third and fourth quarter," LaVine said. "Even going into the fourth quarter we're still up [four] and [we] just got outplayed."
It's a tough loss for a Bulls team that has looked incredibly dominant in stretches on this current five-game road streak. Chicago put together strong wins over both Los Angeles teams but was blown out by a Golden State Warriors team that holds the league's best record. This latest loss to the Trail Blazers surely stings a little extra given how strong the Bulls looked in the first half. The loss now puts Chicago at 10-5 on the season, the Bulls will finish up their road trip on Friday against the Denver Nuggets.