The Bulls are playing better basketball this season.

That’s not a surprise; it turns out firing a laughably horrible coach that everyone hated tends to set you up for at least minor improvement at a minimum. Their roster isn’t really ready to make the postseason in an improving East, but they have interesting pieces and are capable of hanging with most teams on good nights, which come much more frequently now than last season.

Tonight looked like one of their good nights, as they led Portland by five points with less than twelve seconds remaining. Unfortunately for the Bulls, Damian Lillard still exists. One of the best pure shot-makers in the history of basketball, Lillard is certainly not the opponent you want while trying to protect a late lead. The Bulls found that out on this sideline-out-of-bounds play, for example:

After a somewhat questionable jump ball call, the Blazers had a chance to tie or win if they could control the tip and get a shot off. Here’s what happened, with the Blazers booth on the call:

The team was obviously pumped to celebrate with him, which makes sense after putting up 44 and a game-winner on the road:

The win helps keep Portland afloat in the West, where they currently sit seventh at 10-8. It’s obviously still early in the year, but in the West it’s pretty easy to fall out of touch with the playoffs, and the Blazers are battling key injuries to C.J. McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic, too. They need all the wins they can get, and as per usual, Dame is providing them.

About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a writer and editor for The Comeback, and a contributor at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer.