Bulls Notes from Tuesday’s Win in Portland


For the first time since 2007, the Chicago Bulls won a game in Portland against the Trail Blazers. Here’s some notes and takeaways from Tuesday’s win.

The last time the Chicago Bulls won a game at the Moda Center in Portland, Derrick Rose was leading the Memphis Tigers to the nation’s top ranking during the 2006-07 college basketball season.

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On Tuesday night, Rose scored 17 points in his return from an ankle injury and the Bulls defeated the Blazers, 93-88. Four of the five starters for the Bulls scored in double figures, led by Jimmy Butler‘s 22 points on 8-of-13 shooting. Not only did the Bulls find enough offense to win in Portland for the first time in eight years, the Bulls got key defensive stops against a good offense and held Damian Lillard to 4-of-22 shooting on Tuesday.

Despite being outrebounded by 11 on Tuesday, the Bulls held Portland to 6-of-22 shooting from three-point range and forced 14 turnovers.

Before the Bulls get another couple days off for the Thanksgiving holiday, here’s a look at some notes and takeaways from Tuesday night’s game, including Jimmy Butler looking for another paycheck.

  • Derrick Rose missed 13 of his 20 shot attempts on Tuesday in his return to action, but Rose dished out six assists and had a team-high plus-minus of +11. Usually, Rose will drill a bank shot or two from the left side of the floor in the half-court during a game. He switched things up on Tuesday night and made shots off the window on three separate occasions. It wasn’t his best showing, but it’s a solid performance after missing two games last week.
  • Jimmy Butler is quickly becoming one of the bigger personalities in the NBA. He’s having some fun off the floor (more on this in a few) and on the floor, too. Butler scored 22 points and racked up four steals in the win on Tuesday. However, the big thing from Butler’s performance was his scuffle with Portland’s Mason Plumlee in the fourth quarter.

After the game, Butler’s reaction to the situation was … well, it was quite funny.

“Misterdukie@yahoo.com”, eh? That’s priceless. (For those that don’t know, Plumlee attended Duke University and helped the Blue Devils win a national title in 2010.)

  • JOAKIM NOAH OFFENSE ALERT: Noah chipped in seven points on Tuesday, but it was the way Noah contributed on the offensive end that helped him land on this list of takeaways.

Not only was Noah’s body taken over by the great Tim Duncan somehow on Tuesday night, he even gave the Portland crowd a glimpse at the legend-(wait for it…)-dary “tornado jumper” in his offensive moveset.

  • A big takeaway from Tuesday night’s win was the defense. Not only did Lillard miss 18 of 22 shot attempts, Portland shot 35.2 percent from the field as a team.

Two particular plays stuck out on Tuesday:

  1. Jimmy Butler’s close out that forced a travel.
  2. Joakim Noah‘s last stand in the final seconds on C.J. McCollum.

This was a tremendous find from Lillard after he picked up his dribble, but Butler did a good job of properly closing out a shooter and eventually forcing the turnover. It’s the little things with Jimmy Butler that really separate him from some of the other stars in the league today. This is another example.

At first, it appears Noah fell for the pump fake bait and fouled McCollum. But, when you look closely at the play, it appears the officials got this one right. Noah bit on the fake, but McCollum initiated the contact and Noah didn’t exactly fly into him either.

In the final seconds of a three-point game, you don’t want the officials deciding the outcome of a tight ballgame. On this play, it appears the officials swallowed their whistles and made the right no-call.

Final thoughts:

Tuesday was a great team win for the Bulls. Not only did the Bulls improve to 9-4 on the young season, they have now won two of three on the four-game “Circus Trip” with a few days off before a trip to Indianapolis to face Indiana on Friday.

Does it make sense that the Bulls are 9-4? Absolutely not. In fact, it makes absolutely zero sense that the Bulls have won nine of their first 13 games this season.

Does it make sense that the Bulls are winning with defense instead of a higher-paced offense? Of course not. The Bulls’ offensive rating is ranked 26th (100.8) out of 30 teams and the defensive rating is ranked fifth (99.8) through 13 games.

Next: Joakim Noah Has to Embrace Bench Role for Bulls

And yet, the Bulls are 9-4 and tied with the Miami Heat for the second-best record in the Eastern Conference at the current moment.