The Bulls seven-game home winning streak came to an end Monday in a 124-120 overtime loss to the Portland Trailblazers.
Kris Dunn missed on two late chances in the overtime after the Trailblazers went ahead 122-120 behind the play of C.J. McCollum.
Dunn led the Bulls with 22 points and seven rebounds, but had eight turnovers. Lauri Markkanen had 19 points. Robin Lopez had 15, Justin Holiday and Bobby Portis 14 and Denzel Valentine 10 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Nikola Mirotic had 18 points and 10 rebounds in 19 minutes, but didn’t play in the overtime and not late in regulation. McCollum had 33 points.
The Bulls fell to 13-24 with their second consecutive last seconds loss. Portland is 19-17.
Trailblazers star scorer Damian Lillard missed his fifth straight game with a hamstring issue. The Trailblazers ambushed the Bulls with a strong start from Chicagoan Evan Turner with 10 points and three assists in the first quarter. It wasn’t the case, but the Bulls case out looking like they had did a little too much celebrating of the new year. They fell behind 10-4, drawing coach Fred Hoiberg into the dreaded first time out and then trailing 23-13 with Dunn drawing a second foul and going out with five minutes left in the quarter. Portland led 31-23 after one quarter as former Notre Damer Pat Connaughton added eight points. Hoiberg tried David Nwaba as his first sub to get that energy boost, but the Bulls finally got it from Portis to start the second quarter with an offensive rebound score, a jumper and another followup score for a three-point play and scream of accomplishment. With a subsequent Paul Zipser dunk on a Denzel Valentine lob pass the Bulls took their first lead of the game, 38-37, midway through the second quarter. The Bulls extended that to 46-39 with a pair of Mirotic scores. But the Trailblazers with seven straight tied the game before the Bulls edged ahead 53-52 at halftime. No Bulls player scored in double digits, but the Bulls had 16 assists and 13 second chance points in the half. Turner had 14 in the half. His season high was 17 before Monday.
With that Turner first half, Hoiberg went with a lineup change to start the second half with Nwaba defending against Turner. Turner got a post up three-point play early, but Nwaba held him off and the Bulls with Lopez active around the basket for second shots and mid range jumpers went back ahead 66-59. C.J. McCollum finally got it going after a two of 10 shooting first half and sent the Bulls into a timeout leading 66-64 with 7:41 left in the third. The teams kept rounding turns like a horse race with the Bulls taking a 72-66 lead, the Trailblazers in a tie at 75 behind a hot McCollum and then Bulls battling back ahead 80-75 with Portis determined on the boards and finding Mirotic for a three. The Bulls went into the fourth quarter lading 87-83. They immediately went ahead 91-85 with Portis connecting with Mirotic again for a three. Portland climbed back on top 95-93 with 7:34 left on a Jusuf Nurkic putback that sent the Bulls into a timeout to return the game starters. The Bulls aggressive on defense got a pair of turnovers stripping the ball and then Valentine with another slick pass found Markkanen in the left corner for a three and 106-100 Bulls lead with 3:44 left in the game. But the Bulls could not hold the lead against a pair of Al-Farouq Aminu three pointers. Both Markkanen and McCollum had missed winner chances in the last 24 seconds to go into overtime.