LIVE: Chicago Bulls at Portland Trail Blazers

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FRI, NOV 29, 2019
10:00 PM ET
Chicago Bulls at Portland Trail Blazers
Moda Center at the Rose Quarter, Portland, Oregon

The Chicago Bulls are hoping to snap a two-game losing streak. On Friday, they travel to Portland to face a surging Trail Blazers squad.

Portland has won their last two games including an 136-119 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder. On Friday, they hope to make it three straight when they host the Bulls at the Moda Center with tip-off scheduled for 10 p.m. EST.

The Bulls’ inconsistency

Chicago has an up and down start to the season predicated by large bouts of inconsistency. The Bulls’ offense isn’t efficient, as they’re 30th in the NBA and are 28th in rebounding percentage.

On Friday, they face a Portland defense that’s 20th in the NBA in points allowed per game. A more telling stat is the Trail Blazers are third in the amount of transition opportunities they allow.

Because of this weakness, Chicago has a chance to win if they can push the tempo. Given they cannot rebound well or make shots consistently from the perimeter, winning the battle in transition gives them access to easy scoring opportunities.

The Trail Blazers’ defensive struggles

Portland has had its share of struggles too. They’re fifth in the NBA in committing fouls and opponents take advantage of this, averaging 28 free throws against the Trail Blazers each game–a league worst.

To win on Friday, Portland wants to slow the tempo down and force Chicago to beat them from the half court. The Bulls are one of the least inefficient teams in the league, so look for the Trail Blazers to exploit this weakness.

On the offensive end, Portland must protect the ball. The Bulls employ an aggressive defensive scheme that delivers results. Chicago leads the NBA in forced turnovers and steals.

Therefore, the game could come down to how well Portland handles the ball in the face of this pressure.

The Trail Blazers are playing better basketball. Look for their defense to pressure a Chicago offense that struggles with consistency. Because of this, the Bulls will play from behind all game which allows the Trail Blazers to maintain a comfortable lead. Portland wins based on an efficient offense and them winning the rebounding advantage.

Prediction: Portland -7.5

Portland is 4-1 in the Over in their last five Friday games. I expect this trend to continue as the Trailer Blazers have been playing excellent basketball. Look for them to pull out to an early lead which forces Chicago to play quicker to keep up. This pace leads to a higher scoring game.

Prediction: Over 225

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