Dame’s late heroics save the Blazers in Chicago

by Kevin Nesgoda

The Blazers visited the Windy City for a Saturday afternoon bout with the Chicago Bulls; a 7-10 team with a top-five offense in the Association.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Portland took an early lead, blew it, and were in a close one down the stretch.

Photo via Trail Blazers (used with permission)

Photo via Trail Blazers (used with permission)


Chicago: Coby White, Zach LaVine, Patrick Williams, Lauri Markkanen, Daniel Gafford

Portland: Damian Lillard, Gary Trent, Nassir Little, Robert Covington, Enes Kanter

First Quarter

Both teams got out to a frenetic first quarter behind some beautiful offense. The Bulls used Kanter’s lack of defensive mobility to stretch the floor, making six of their 13 attempted threes.

Portland was led by Dame’s 13 points while Kanter added eight of his own.

Things that happened twice:

  • Dame had a couple nice feeds to Harry Giles in Enes’ absence.

  • Lauri Markkanen hit two corner threes.

  • Melo nearly airballed two threes, but they short-rimmed off.

  • Gary missed a pair of open fastbreak threes.

  • Dame felt the need to appeal to the refs after a few questionable calls.

Second Quarter

LaVine started off the quarter with a pair of triples, but the game slowed down in the second behind some sloppy play.

Gary Trent passed 10 points midway through the quarter with a big contested three. The Blazers followed it up with triples from a masked Covington and Anfernee Simons right after.

Portland started playing better defense, but their offensive midrange game was the difference in the first half. Overall, the team was 7/7 in between the three-point line and key.

Coby White was the leading scorer for Chicago with 16.

Chart via nba.com

Chart via nba.com

Third Quarter

Dame started off hot in the third, hitting two step-back jumpers and a 33-foot three that should have been an and-one.

The Blazers added to their double-digit lead behind Lillard and Kanter, and out of a timeout Dame and Gary both hit threes to make it 88-70.

LaVine came back in and gave the Bulls a spark, cutting the lead to single digits right before the break. Markkanen hit his fourth three for his 20th point to make it 93-86.

Fourth Quarter

Chicago cut the lead to two, but Simons hit back with a big three. A few possessions later, Tomas Satoransky hit a corner three to take a 103-101 lead.

Dame hit another three for his 33rd point with seven minutes left, but it was Lauri Markkanen and Zach LaVine hitting big shots late in the game. The Bulls took a four-point lead with one minute left.

  • Dame drove to the basket and two points dropped in after two rotations around the rim (:51)

  • LaVine dribbled into a long three (:32)

  • RoCo glided to the rim and scored a finger roll (:18)

  • Coby White was fouled and made both shots (:16)

  • Dame buried a long three (:09)

  • The Blazers forced a jump ball on the inbound pass (:06)

  • The Blazers win the tip, there’s a scramble for the ball, they dig it out and DAME BURIES A STEPBACK THREE OVER MARKKANEN AT THE BUZZER (:DAME TIME)

Final Thoughts

Here’s the sentence I wrote with 10 seconds left: Another brutal blown lead for the Blazers in another game against an inferior team.

That’s the reason Dame isn’t super hyped in the postgame interview. The ultimate question, though: Do you care??

A win is a win. This team deserved to win this game, and even though the Bulls could probably also say that, it’s always nice to have Dame to lean back on.

Player(s) of the Game

Dame had 44 points, 9 assists, and 5 boards. Enough said.

Next Up

The Blazers will continue moving across the country and take on the mighty Milwaukee Bucks Monday night at 5pm.

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