Blazers Take Bulls By the Horns, Portland +2 the NBA Pick

Jason Lake

Tuesday, November 24, 2015 11:44 AM GMT

The Chicago Bulls might win more basketball games this year, but the Portland Trail Blazers are the ones beating the NBA odds. Expect more of the same this Tuesday night.

Jason's 2015-16 record as of Nov. 23: 3-4 ATS

 

Will Derrick Rose play for the Chicago Bulls this Tuesday (10:00 p.m. ET, WGN) when they visit the Portland Trail Blazers? If he does, we might have to put Portland in our NBA picks. Rose (ankle) is expected to suit up after putting in a full practice on Monday – which means the Bulls will have their worst player back in the starting rotation. Yes, he's been that bad.

At least Chicago (8-4 SU, 4-8 ATS) has played well enough to stay among the leaders in the Eastern Conference. Out West, the Trail Blazers (6-9 SU, 8-7 ATS) are in Year One of their post-LaMarcus Aldridge rebuilding project. They probably won't make the playoffs, but they are performing better than expected. By most, that is. Portland has opened as a 2-point home dog on the NBA odds board for Tuesday's matchup.

 

Not So Rosy
By now, nobody should expect Rose to ever regain his MVP form after so many injuries. But Rose (11.1 PER, –4.2 BPM) isn't even playing at replacement level anymore. Every once in a while, he shows glimpses of what used to be, but after 10 games, Rose is scoring a career-low 15.1 points per 36 minutes while shooting 37.7 percent from the floor and 15.0 percent from long range.

Complicating matters for the Bulls, back-up PG Aaron Brooks (17.8 PER, +2.6 BPM), easily the better of the two guards right now, strained his left hamstring last week and isn't expected back until the end of the month. Kirk Hinrich started for Chicago in Friday's 106-94 loss to the Golden State Warriors (–9 at home) and did a fine job, scoring 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting before fouling out. But Hinrich doesn't have many of those games left in him, if any.

 

It's Damian Lillard and His Giant Plums
The Blazers have zero problems with their starting point guard. Damian Lillard (22.6 PER, +4.0 BPM). Okay, maybe one problem: his defense. Otherwise, this is Lillard's team now. He's logging a team-high 37.5 minutes per game, and he'd better keep it up, because Tim Frazier (7.1 PER, –3.6 BPM) is the only other “true” point guard on the roster.

I still can't believe Portland got Mason Plumlee (19.2 PER, +4.2 BPM) from the Brooklyn Nets in a package deal for the No. 23 pick in this year's draft. Liberating Ed Davis (17.8 PER, +2.8 BPM) from the L.A. Lakers in free agency was another masterstroke. Alas, Noah Vonleh (3.0 PER, – 7.1 BPM) has yet to prove he's NBA-ready, and he's playing big minutes in place of the injured Meyers Leonard (10.5 PER, –1.6 BPM). We still like Portland here at the ranch, but we're recommending a small wager, just in case Vonleh gets between us and the pay window.

Free NBA Pick: Trail Blazers +2 (–105) at Pinnacle

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