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Bulls Vs. Trail Blazers Preview: Portland And Chicago Headed In Very Different Directions

The Chicago Bulls (36-9) take on the Portland Trail Blazers (20-23) at the United Center on Friday night.

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The Portland Trail Blazers made big moves on Thursday before the NBA Trade Deadline, but none of their transactions made the team better in the short term. Everything was done with an eye on reshaping the roster and positioning themselves to get impact players in the 2012 NBA Draft and beyond. Nate McMillan? Fired. Marcus Camby and Gerald Wallace? Traded for scrap heap players. Raymond Felton? Well, nobody wanted him, but he was on the trade block and now is waiting to go on the chopping block at the end of the season. As for the Bulls, they just pulled off a thrilling and improbable victory over the Miami Heat, without Derrick Rose.

The reigning MVP is still nursing a sore groin and is day-to-day at this point, but it's possible the Bulls won't even need him to be ready to take down a completely disheartened Blazers team on Friday. Here is a bit of the game preview from SB Nation's Trail Blazers blog, Blazer's Edge:

You know how sometimes you hear there's going to be a fight after school and you go because the fight is between Razor Hulkmeier, the genetic mutant freak who got held back a year and now towers over everyone, and Larry the bug kid from science class who accidentally bumped Razor while de-fogging his glasses in the locker room? That's exactly what this is going to be like.

The Blazers better hope some coaching voodoo thing happens. Plus they better hope LaMarcus Aldridge remembers yet again that the Bulls traded him away on draft night. Plus they better hope that Derrick Rose, who didn't play on Wednesday night against the Heat (in a game which Chicago won anyway), finds more reasons to sit out. And even then this isn't a fair contest.

Gather 'round at 5:00 out by the side courtyard. Larry is about to get his bug face smashed in. It's not his fault, poor kid. But it should be something to see, at least for the morbidly curious among us.

Game date/time: Friday, March 16, 7:00 p.m. CST

Location: United Center, Chicago, IL

TV: CSN-Chicago

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.