McCollum’s 50 points make for a long night for the short-handed Bulls

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PORTLAND, OR - JANUARY 31: CJ McCollum #3 of the Portland Trail Blazers goes to the basket against the Chicago Bulls on January 31, 2018 at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)

PORTLAND – It had all the signs of being a bad, bad night for the Bulls to start their three-game West Coast road trip.

CJ McCollum made it even worse – and rather quickly too.

The guard blitzed the Bulls with an NBA season-high 28 points in the first quarter, then he got 22 more over the next 24 minutes of play. By the time he took a seat in the fourth quarter, his 50 points had put Fred Hoiberg’s team out of their misery in a 124-108 loss at the Moda Center Wednesday night.

Without Lauri Markkanen (personal reasons), Kris Dunn (Injury) and Nikola Mirotic (Maybe a trade?), the Bulls could offer little resistence most of the night in falling for the fifth-consecutive contest. Now at 18-33, they are now just three game ahead of the Hawks for the worst record in the league.

Of course, some Bulls fans are rooting for the team’s bad finish in hopes of that solid draft pick. McCollum helped that cause with a night to remember.

He was 18-of-25 from the field and hit 6-of-9 three-pointers on the evening. In the first quarter he did most of the damage as the Trail Blazers grabbed a 24 point lead behind McCollum’s 28. From there the Bulls were able to stop the bleeding, so to speak, keeping the game from being an even big laugher than it was.

Zach LaVine, who’d shot 5-of-28 in his previous two games, helped that cause by scoring a season-high 23 points on 8-of-13 from the field.

The Bulls needed more players like him on Wednesday night to remain competitive, but McCollum’s performance would have made it tough for this team at full strength to make a run at the Blazers.