On Sunday night, the Chicago Bulls defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 104-96 to end a two-game losing run. DeMar DeRozan finished with 20 points.
In the final game of a brief three-game road trip, Coby White led the Bulls with 15 points and 10 assists, while Andre Drummond scored 15 points off the bench. With 21 seconds remaining, Ayo Dosunmu’s 3-pointer all but ensured victory.
The Bulls, who only made eight of their thirty-two 3-point tries and were never able to build a lead larger than eleven points, had to rely on defense to win.
Bulls coach Billy Donovan stated, “I really thought we tried to share the ball.” “I think 27 assists on the number of threes that we generated, that we just didn’t shoot the ball very well. But I give the guys credit, we hung in there defensively.”
Portland’s Jerami Grant scored the most, scoring 24, while Deandre Ayton added 22 points and 12 rebounds. In their past five games, the Blazers have suffered four losses.
The Bulls went into the last quarter with a razor-thin 76-75 lead. With a 3-pointer by freshman Julian Phillips of Chicago, the lead was increased to 88-80.
With 4:34 remaining, Anfernee Simons’ 3-pointer pulled Portland to within 92-89, but DeRozan’s three on the opposite end put an end to the threat.
Late in the game, Simons pulled the Blazers to within 99-96, but Dosunmu’s 3-pointer put an end to any hopes of a game-winning rally.
Nikola Vucevic laid a pass for Dosunmu’s three points.
“Anytime you get a win, it always feels good,” Dosunmu remarked. “It just feels good because of the work I put into it, (Vucevic) trusting me, he could have easily just shot it, because he’s a veteran and an All-Sar, but he trusted in me to make the right play.”
Patrick Williams, who has a sore left foot and will get more imaging in Chicago before determining when he can return, was not with the Bulls.
Williams, who scores 10 points a night on average, was on the court on Thursday in Los Angeles as the Bulls lost 141-132 to the Lakers. His absence is felt in Chicago, where Torrey Craig and Zach LaVine are already absent.
Although Scoot Henderson, a rookie, had a quad contusion and Grant was experiencing back pain, the Blazers decided to play both players during the game. Portland, which is currently ranked second-to-last in the Western Conference, has had health issues and injuries much of January.
The Blazers had just returned from a 1-3 road trip that saw them lose to the Spurs 116-100 on Friday.
Portland was behind for almost the whole first quarter, but halfway through the second, they got closer and, on a 3-pointer by Duop Reath, matched the score at thirty. White provided a three-point response on behalf of the Bulls.
By halftime, the Bulls had increased their lead to 53-42. With eleven points, White led all players.
Ayton’s second consecutive dunk put Portland within 59-55, but the Blazers were unable to reduce the gap until Ayton scored two free throws that tied the game at 67. Grant’s free throw gave Portland the advantage, and for the remainder of the third quarter, the two teams battled for the lead.
The Blazers shot poorly as well, making only six of their thirty-three attempts from beyond the arc.
“We know we’ve got the players capable of putting up numbers, scoring from the outside, from the inside. We just have to figure it out,” Grant remarked. “I really don’t have the answers for that, but we’re definitely capable.”