USA TODAY Sports
After multiple games of poor play, the Portland Trail Blazers came out on fire and left the lethargic Chicago Bulls in the dust. Much like the previous game, the score is not representative of the overall game, but in a good way this time.
The Blazers were led by the dynamic duo, Damian Lillard (24 points, 7 assists) and LaMarcus Aldridge (28 points, 8 rebounds). Also, JJ Hickson had a monster rebounding night, setting a new career high with 21 rebounds plus 9 points. Nicolas Batum (11 points, 6 assists, 6 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 blocks) was quiet but solid.
First Half: Despite the Bulls' clear advantage inside on offense, the Blazers made sure they stayed close through the first quarter. Then, in the second quarter, something amazing happened: The Blazers were good! I mean, really good. They got open, they made passes, they hit their shots. They even picked up their defense. The Bulls didn't know what hit them, but when they checked the scoreboard, the hot-shooting Blazers were up by 19, and the crowd had the wind knocked out of them. The Bulls made a late-quarter charge to cut the lead to 15 at halftime. Score: Blazers 52, Bulls 37.
Can you still use the Rip City tagline when its not a home game? :P Cause they’re destroying those poor nets… Chicago’s gonna need to break out some aloe during the half.
Third Quarter: Chicago just couldn't stop Portland. Lillard was slicing and dicing, while Aldridge took care of the jumpers. The defense looked upgraded, but was helped by the Bulls' inability to make any shots at all. They looked like they were playing their third game in three nights, as every shut bounced off the front of the rim. When Batum swished a three-pointer, the Bulls fell behind by 22 and took a timeout. Out of the timeout, Meyers Leonard had a monster block to start the break, and followed it with a dunk at the other end. Before long, the lead was 25, then 28. The Bulls made a few shots down the stretch to cut the lead back to 24, but a Wesley Matthews step-back bomb for three kept the lead at 27 at the horn. Score: Blazers 80, Bulls 53 (!)
Getting pretty tired of hearing someone on the bulls shout "travel!" on every possession. I assume it’s Boozer because he sucks and is always yelling annoying things.
Fourth Quarter: The Bulls roared back to life, scoring the first 6 points and forcing an early Blazer timeout. Out of the timeout, another Bulls dunk cut the lead under 20. Another Blazer miss led to another Bulls bucket, cutting the lead to 17. Aldridge hit two straight shots to slow down the Bulls, but Chicago stayed aggressive and cut the lead to 15 at the halfway point.
Out of a timeout, Batum and Lillard kept the Blazer lead comfortable, and the Bulls were not able to slice down the lead until garbage time, much to Coach Terry Stotts' dismay in the final seconds.
Stay tuned for more analysis from Blazer’s Edge later tonight. In the meantime, check out the upcoming Blazers schedule. -- Tim