The Chicago Bulls lost a nail-biting game to the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night by a score of 98-95, but the final result on the scoreboard isn’t close to the leading headline as the team leaves the Rose Garden in Portland.
Star point guard Derrick Rose scored 20 points in 28 minutes, but the reason that he played only 28 minutes was due to a right knee injury that saw him hobble to the sidelines. The Bulls PR department was quick to say that Rose was unavailable for the rest of the night, but the bigger worry is for his long-term health, as he has just famously returned from a full year off as a result of a torn ACL.
On the court, Portland capitalized on Rose’s absence with an absolutely explosion in the second half, as they outscored Chicago 54-36 after the break, including a 34-12 annihilation in the 3rd quarter, to grab a victory from what looked to be a negative situation. Swingman Wesley Matthews led all scorers with 28 points (on 12 of 19 shooting) as he continued what has been a storybook beginning to the season, but it was an “all hands on deck” effort from the Blazers, who saw all 5 starters go for double-figures.
In Rose’s absence, the Bulls simply couldn’t generate offense, as the team finished with under 39% shooting for the game, including 6 for 17 from Luol Deng and 4 of 12 from reserve point guard Kirk Hinrich. Chicago kept afloat on the strength of tremendous free-throw shooting (26 of 29) and rebounding (52 to 39 margin over Portland), but in the end, the offense wasn’t enough to hold off the hard-charging Blazers.
Obviously, all eyes are on Derrick Rose’s knee (and with good reason), but the Blazers just won another game to vault to 11-2 on the season, and if they can beat a good team with their best player (LaMarcus Aldridge) shooting 4 for 20 from the field, anything is possible for Portland this season.