The Bulls host the Trail Blazers and Dave Gray thinks Zach LaVine and co can send them back to Portland with a third straight loss...
"This current Trail Blazers team is just not built for the sort of test Chicago will give them."
Portland Trail Blazers @ Chicago Bulls
Sunday, 01:00 GMT
Live on Sky Sports Arena
Bulls want to snap losing run
Zach LaVine's superb season continues. He is averaging 27 points per game and while Chicago have lost their last two, they were up against the Lakers and Celtics. Prior to that they had won three straight and were really showing they could hang with most teams in the NBA - at least offensively. They sit in fourth in scoring and that is going to give them a chance every time they step on the court.
Defensively is where they really fall down though. 28th in scoring defence, they really need to step it up there if they are going to make the playoffs for the first time since 2017. Lauri Markananen, Coby White and LaVine can fire them into a decent number of wins, but the better offences in the league are just going to blow them away, as we saw in those games with Los Angeles and Boston.
Lillard not enough on his own
At full strength the Trail Blazers are one of those teams that could really punish the Bulls. But as we know they have been crushed by injuries. CJ McCollum and Jusef Nurkic remain sidelined and will be so for at least another four to five weeks. It is just too much for this team to overcome. They've lost three of the past four and against the Rockets they got up big in the first quarter but fell apart as the game went on.
At 9-8 they are still in a fairly strong position - at least with a full line up - but if things continue as they have been going it may be too late by the time those players return to the line up. The Portland defence is not doing much better than Chicago this season and with the offence basically being Damian Lillard and not a lot else, they really are going to struggle to keep up with that potent Bulls offence.
Bulls can fire their way to a win
I am a fan of what the Bulls are doing. They have lost two straight but it can be forgiven against two of the league's best. This current Trail Blazers team is just not built for the sort of test Chicago will give them. It is hard to see how they limit LaVine and co enough to head home with a win.