Winning can be hard in the NBA. The schedule is relentless. Anything can happen at any time: injuries, suspensions, flare-ups, to name a few. Chicago Bulls guard Rajon Rondo had to sit this game out due to an flare-up with an assistant coach.
The Bulls missed him as they fell to a determined Portland effort and Damian Lillard’s 30 points, 112-110.
The Bulls are now (11-9) and seemed to have lost the momentum from defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers last Friday.
Rondo allegedly threw a towel at an assistant coach and drew a one game suspension. Back-up G Jerian Grant started for Rondo and was largely ineffective. Dwyane Wade scored 34 points on 11/23 shooting. Jimmy Butler had a 26 point night. Forward Nikola Mirotic had 18 points off the bench.
The Bulls lacked some manpower with Doug McDermott days away from heading back to the court after his second concussion. Michael Carter-Willliams is heading in the right direction after banging up his knee and wrist.
Chicago had a big third quarter where they outscored Portland 30-21, and did not have enough to get by the Trail Blazers in the closing minutes. Ed Davis of the Blazers made a layup to put his team up 94-93. Portland went on a 11 point run and led the game 103-93 with 5:55 left.
“I’m really pleased the way we responded after the way they beat us the first time,” said Portland head coach Terry Stotts.
The Bulls missed Rondo’s up tempo game and Wade took it upon himself to score the ball. It just wasn’t enough on this night.
Chicago goes on the road to face the Pistons in Detroit.