The Blazers pulled an epic to assert their strength at the Moda Center. The Billups side, which has only lost one game at home, managed to beat the Bulls 112-107, for which they had to turn around a difference of 20 points. Those from Portland were clearly from less to more throughout the clash, which allowed them to beat one of the teams of the moment and balance their balance of victories and defeats (8-8).
The match began dominated by Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan, who with 18 and 15 points in the first half respectively made the Illinois team widen the gap, which peaked at 43-63 in the last moments of the second quarter. Chicago, clearly superior so far, was finding a way to stop the locals and score with relative ease, giving continuity to the many virtues that the team has shown in this start of the course, but in the second half the tables were reversed completely.
Damian Lillard, who had signed a poor first half, began to regain sensations after the break, and with him the Blazers began to grow and cut the gap. The point guard scored 16 of his 22 goals in the second half, and with his baskets and assists (he distributed 10) he was lifting his team off the canvas and making the Moda Center believe more and more in victory. At the end of the third quarter, Portland was already close (81-85), making the comeback inevitable for some Bulls who saw their stars go down while their problems got worse.
Lillard himself, with two fundamental triples in the fourth period, delivered two hard thrusts to the visitors and finished as the top scorer of his own, followed by Norman Powell, also author of some important shots in the comeback, and Jusuf Nurkic, both with 18 points to which the Bosnian added 13 rebounds. It was not so fine, on the other hand, CJ McCollum, who stayed at 9 points, but who knew how to appear in the last quarter with several important actions, including the basket that culminated the comeback and put Portland ahead for the first time in the entire second part.
LaVine, with his 30 points, was the one who scored the most in the clash, although he faded after his great start and could not prevent Chicago from letting the advantage slip away. The guard tried to reactivate already in the last quarter, and in fact added several baskets that kept Donovan’s men alive until the end, but when he had in his hands the triple that would have put the tie in the absence of 10 seconds he did not was able to convert it. Zach received completely alone and with all the time in the world, but exhaustion took its toll and his shot fell quite short.
DeRozan, who also went from more to less as the minutes passed, remained at 22 points, while Lonzo Ball reached 17. Alex Caruso, for his part, remained at the gates of the triple-double, as he signed 12 points, 10 rebounds (4 of them in attack) and 9 assists, to which he also added 2 steals and 2 blocks in his third consecutive game as a starter.
(Portrait photo: Tim Nwachukwu / Getty Images)