The Chicago Bulls continue their Western Conference road trip as they take on the Portland Trail Blazers at the Moda Center on Wednesday. The Trail Blazers are coming off a much-needed victory over the Toronto Raptors while the Bulls are on a roll right now, with the second-best record in the East.
The Portland Trail Blazers are 7-8 through their first 15 games of the season and are in the midst of another mediocre campaign. Coach Chauncey Billups hasn't been able to improve the team's defensive strategy and they are simply not able to win games. They are 26th in defensive rating and have a negative points differential.
The Chicago Bulls, meanwhile, are dominating the league. Keeping their blowout loss at Golden State aside, they have managed to get the best out of every other matchup. They defeated the Brooklyn Nets, LA Lakers, and LA Clippers last week and two of their stars, Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan are both in the early MVP race.
Chicago Bulls Injury Report
Watching them win games and dominate opponents makes it easier to forget that the Chicago Bulls are, in fact, shorthanded.
They have a few players on the injury report, including big man Nikola Vucevic, who is their primary rebounder and pick-and-pop partner. Alex Caruso is also listed as questionable due to a left wrist contusion. He is second-highest in the league in steals despite coming off the bench and is the Bulls' best perimeter defender.
Meanwhile, Patrick Williams continues to be out and Jevonte Graham is also questionable due to a left ankle sprain. That leaves very few options for coach Billy Donovan for the power forward spot.
Portland Trail Blazers Injury Report
Damian Lillard is the biggest name on Portland's injury report and he is listed as questionable for tonight's game due to lower abdomen tendinopathy.
Lillard was initially ruled out of the Portland Trail Blazers' last game against the Raptors but eventually laced up. In fact, he played 40 minutes on an injured abdomen and is understandably back on the injury report.
Greg Brown III was listed as questionable for their last game but is available tonight. However, starting small forward Norman Powell is now questionable due to a left ankle sprain.
Chicago Bulls vs Portland Trail Blazers: Predicted Lineups
The Chicago Bulls are going to face trouble at the power forward spot. Patrick Williams was originally expected to be the power forward but Jevonte Green and Alex Caruso have since taken on that role in his absence.
With all three aforementioned players now injured, coach Billy Donovan will likely deploy DeMar DeRozan at that spot.
The rest of the lineup remains the same, though. Lonzo Ball and Zach LaVine will share the backcourt with Ball running point. Ayo Dosunmu or Coby White might get the nod for the starting small forward spot if DeRozan starts at the 4. And finally, Tony Bradley will start as the center until Nikola Vucevic is cleared to play.
Portland Trail Blazers
The Portland Trail Blazers will deploy their usual lineup if Damian Lillard plays the game. Lillard will run the point guard position in the backcourt with CJ McCollum but if Dame doesn't lace up, Anfernee Simons is expected to replace him.
Nassir Little or Tony Snell will likely sub in for Norman Powell at the small forward spot. Robert Covington and Jusuf Nurkic will retain their respective power forward and center roles.
Chicago Bulls vs Portland Trail Blazers: Predicted Starting 5s
G - Lonzo Ball | G - Zach LaVine | F - Coby White | F - DeMar DeRozan | C - Tony Bradley.
Portland Trail Blazers
G - Anfernee Simons | G - CJ McCollum | F - Nassir Little | F - Robert Covington | C - Jusuf Nurkic.
Q. Who will win?
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