On Friday night, Chicago Bulls fans once again got a reminder of what life without Derrick Rose is like. Two nights after defeating the Miami Heat at home with the reigning MVP watching from the bench, the Bulls fell 100-89 to a Portland Trail Blazers team whose season has run totally off the rails.
The Bulls upset the Heat on Wednesday night in large part thanks to the stellar play of the replacement duo of John Lucas III and C.J. Watson. But on Friday night, it was those two that dragged the team down, shooting 7-23 from the field and 4-15 from three point range en route to a combined 18 points. The Blazers' backcourt had just about the exact opposite night of that, with Raymond Felton and Wesley Matthews combining for 34 points on 12-22 shooting, and that doesn't even take into account the 12 points that Nolan Smith pitched in from the bench.
The Bulls saw solid contributions from their frontcourt, with Carlos Boozer putting up 22 points and 14 assists and Joakim Noah chipping in with 12 points, nine rebounds and five assists. But even those lines ended up being far off the pace of what the two established in the first half, when the Bulls maintained a lead over Portland despite the Blazers' scorching three point shooting.
That marksmanship from downtown continued in the second half, and eventually overwhelmed Chicago, who tried to match Portland but just didn't have the horses. The Bulls won't have much time to wallow in their sorrows, as they'll take on the Philadelphia 76ers on the road on Saturday night.
For more on this game, stay with SB Nation Chicago. For more on the Bulls, check out Blog a Bull, and for more on the Trail Blazers, check out Blazer's Edge. For news and updates from around the league, head over to SB Nation's NBA news hub.