So tonight could be an interesting night. The Portland Trail Blazers are in Chicago to take on the Bulls and I’m in Santa Barbara watching a fire come down the mountain toward my house. So if the recap seems a little bit choppier than normal, it’s because of the fire and the helicopters floating around above me.
Tonight is nice for the Blazers as they get to play ten of the next fourteen at home after tonight. They’ve only had five games at home and it’s almost December.
The ball is moving around nicely for the Blazers tonight already. The team came into the night 29th in the league in assists and 30th in rebounding. Through the first ten minutes, they have eight assists and have outrebounded 13-11.
Rodney Hood started out on fire scoring on two long jumpers and then… Carmelo Anthony started to take over. Melo chipped in 12 points in the first quarter. It’s the best Melo has looked in years. Maybe he’s starting to get his sea legs under him.
Skal Labissiere continues to play well too. He had six points and four boards in the first quarter. Damian Lillard also looked spry. Hoping that back injury is starting to subside. Zach LaVine is continuing his hot shooting tonight too. For a Blazers team that is in the bottom four in defending the three that is not a good sign.
My god the Blazers are moving the ball around tonight. The ISO Play is low tonight and the Blazers are just whipping the ball around. They are finding open shooters and open cutters. The Bulls are not ready for this Blazers team. Carmelo is passing up open threes for better shots from guys like Anfernee Simons and Hassan Whiteside. The Bulls are not a good team, but I am really digging the energy from the Blazers tonight.
The Blazers jumped out to a 50-37 lead and of course, this is when they decide to hover around the paint and give up a quick 9-0 run on back to back threes from Lauri Markkanen and Denzel Valentine (forgot he was even in the league) and then Markkanen gets a three point play the hard way.
Some love is thrown out to Hersey Hawkins, a Chicago native and Blazer coach, thrown out during the break.
Chicago is on an 11-0 to cut the lead down to two. Once again the Blazers can’t put their foot on the throat of another team. I’d like to say the Bulls are an inferior opponent. They were last year. They seem to be pretty even this year and that should not be the case.
Coby White is bullying CJ McCollum tonight. It reminds of when Gary Payton would back a weaker guard into the paint and abuse them in the post. Sad thing is, CJ is bigger than White. This should not be happening. At least he has 13 points to go with the 17 he’s given up on the defensive end.
Lillard and CJ are clicking to start the third quarter and the Blazers push their lead back up to 13 once again. Also, Markkanen cannot guard Melo. This is a huge mismatch.
Damn, the Blazers are looking good tonight. They are looking hungry. Dame is facilitating tonight, has 11 assists halfway through the third quarter.
The Blazers really pushed it in that quarter. The Blazers have a plus 16 advantage on the boards, have five steals and have hit 20 assists tonight. The defense is on another level, they’re holding the Bulls to only 32% shooting through three. Blazers up 92-72. This is the best I’ve seen the Blazers play all year so far. A complete effort on both sides of the court.
The fourth quarter might be a different story though. I would love to see the Blazers close this out strong. No eight-point garbage time win. This needs to be 18 plus, no excuses.
The evacuation zone is now two blocks from where I live. This is getting interesting.
Carmelo is balling tonight! He got a three, a dunk, and another three. He’s up to 25 points right now. He’s also got seven boards. This is the best Melo has looked in a long time. CJ hits a three and the Blazers go up 26 in the fourth. Again, the ball is moving around quite a bit and there is very little ISO. Even when Melo does his ISO stuff he makes quick decisions instead of eating up 8-10 seconds on the clock like he had been doing the last couple of years. There have been two possession tonight where everyone touched the ball twice!
Anthony has now passed Alex English for 17th all-time in scoring.
Carmelo finishes the night with 25, CJ chipped in 21, Hood had 16, and Whiteside and Lillard each had 13 points. Lillard also had 12 assists. Skal had 12 off the bench.
LaVine led the Bulls with 18.
Wendell Carter looks like he’s been in the league for 30 years. There is no way that dude is only a second year player. He looks sixty.
The Blazers get to sleep in their own beds for the first time in what seems like a month. They take on Oklahoma City on Wednesday night at 7:00 PM.