Final: Blazers Roast the Bulls, 98-95

Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Trail Blazers made a magical third quarter comeback against the Chicago Bulls, holding on for a memorable victory, their ninth straight overall. The Bulls will be distracted with the loss of Derrick Rose, who injured his knee in the third quarter.

The Blazers were led by Wesley Matthews with a huge night (28 huge points on 12-19 shooting), with support from Damian Lillard (who "struggled" to a 20 point, 6 assist night), Robin Lopez (13 points, 16 rebounds against Chicago's bruising rebounding big men) and Nicolas Batum (17 points, 8 rebounds, 5 big steals, 3 assists). LaMarcus Aldridge (12 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals) struggled with his shot all night but hit two clutch free throws to seal the win.

Box Score

First Quarter: Carlos Boozer took control to give the Bulls an early lead, but two Blazer three-pointers tied it up. But Derrick Rose found his groove, scoring on drives to give them an early 10 point lead. Yet again, the Blazers' opponent comes out shooting hot, but this time Portland couldn't match, as Aldridge was misfiring and the Bulls were gobbling up offensive rebounds galore. By the end of the quarter, Chicago out-rebounded Portland 17-5, and held a comfy lead. After a week of buzz, the Blazer fans never had anything to cheer for.

Chicago 32, Portland 22

Phew, it's like they forgot how to pass. And you don’t need skip passes or cross-court passes. Just move it one guy at a time for a few possessions and get the defense tired. Then break them down. Simple, really.
by Corvallis, OR

Second Quarter: Chicago kept up the pressure, and Portland's bench didn't show up to play. As Thomas Robinson struggled, Chicago strolled to the hoop for easy layups and a 15 point lead. A timeout didn't help, as Rose and more Chicago rebounding helped the lead balloon to 21, and the fans started to sigh and fidget in their seats. The Blazers cut it to 17, but the Bulls could score and rebound at will, preventing any serious Blazer comeback. Meanwhile, Lillard and Aldridge were shooting a combined 1-17 from the field. Even loose balls were going Chicago's way. So Portland was absolutely thrilled to be only down 15 at halftime.

Chicago 59, Portland 44

Stotts better be giving the most epic halftime speech ever right now.
by Reasonable Approximation

Third Quarter: After being quiet for the first half, Lillard and Aldridge combined for 4 quick points to cut the deficit to 11. Chicago fought back, but Lillard nailed a three-point to pull within single digits. As the Blazers picked up the defense, Batum and Lillard helped the Blazers close to within 6. After forcing a turnover, Matthews hit a layup at the other end to cut the deficit to 4! The Bulls needed a timeout as the crowd roared. As the bench arrived, Mo Williams fed Aldridge on the break to close to within 2, and Matthews stole the ball and layed it in to tie the game! Chicago desperately took a timeout as the crowd gave them the business. But Williams nailed two straight three-pointers to give the Blazers a 4 point lead! Portland was on a 22-2 run! With the last possession of the quarter, as the clock wound down and the crowd gave a standing ovation, Matthews flew in for a layup!

As Portland outscored Chicago, 34-12, this was easily the most memorable quarter of the Portland Trail Blazers season thus far.

Portland 78, Chicago 71

Stotts has to be one of the best halftime coaches in the game, he really gets us to make the adjustments.
by cavejunctionblazer

Fourth Quarter: Rose headed to the locker room with a possible knee injury. Meanwhile, in the first minute of the quarter, there were 3 quick calls against the Blazers, giving the Bulls 5 free points to close the gap quickly. As the quarter progressed, the Blazers couldn't buy a foul without being slammed into and falling to the court. Another foul call helped the Bulls tie the game. Lillard gave the Blazers the lead again, but the refs quickly called him for two fouls, including his fifth foul in a collision for a loose ball. The Bulls quickly regained the lead as the crowd grew frustrated. Another free throw extended the Bulls lead, but Lillard tied it with a three. Chicago took control, scoring 5 straight points (sandwiched around a Lillard turnover) to take the lead again, but a Lillard three-pointer cut it to two with less than 3 minutes left. With two minutes left, the Bulls led by 1 and took a timeout. Deng missed, Matthews swished a jumper to regain the lead with 90 seconds left! After a defensive stop gave the Blazers the ball, they got a foul call in their favor, giving them 14s on the shot click with 45 seconds left in the game.

The Blazers inbounded, and with 37 seconds left, Batum air-balled a three-pointer. At the other end, against strong Blazers D, the Bulls turned the ball over on a 24 second violation! With 8 seconds left, Aldridge was fouled. In the clutch, he calmly swished both free throws for a 3 point lead. Luol Deng missed a three at the other end, and the crowd roared as the Blazers held on for the most unexpected win of the season!

What's Next:

Dave will have more analysis later tonight. The Blazers are in Oakland tomorrow night to play the Golden State Warriors.

Comments of the night!

Thanks to everyone who participates in our nightly Gameday Threads! I always quote a few favorites in the recap, but for a little extra fun, these were the most popular comments of the night based on number of recs:

# Recs Commenter Comment Link
13 Cablinasian [no title]
9 cavejunctionblazer Okay yall here some Blazer limericks I busted out today for yalls enjoyment...
7 bustabucket Go Blazers!
7 jaelte Go Trail Blazers!!
6 austinpwnz Go Portland Oregon Trail Blazers!!
6 cloud razor I'VE BEEN PRACTICING FOR THIS GAME ALL DAY
6 Blazing Chargers Go Portland Trail Blazers!!!
6 superfly05 Zers!
6 CroRupt we will come back and win this
5 Cablinasian Wesley Matthews is made of MURRICA
5 thankyouforblaze [no title]
5 Cablinasian yeah, that's a reasonable approximation.
5 austinpwnz Dude you can't just skip to the end like that!!
4 Cablinasian [no title]
4 Biph Go Portland Oregon Trail Blazers of the Northwest Division NBA U.S. America #1
4 philantre Go Blazers
3 thankyouforblaze It sucks that we're losing, but it sucks even more to see everyone hate on our guys who have been playing well this year.
3 Cablinasian o.0
3 cloud razor somewhere, Asik is weeping soft, turkish tears.
3 RipCityLifer! Tonight's game is the most important game ever played in the history of basketball.
3 Reasonable Approximation Not many are.
3 Cablinasian Most players shoot quadratics.
3 Chuck Norriss I have to apologize to Lopez tonight. We dont need Asik.
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