The Blazers returned to a full starting lineup Friday night. The Chicago Bulls were not as fortunate with Derrick Rose, Pau Gasol, and Kirk Hinrich out. The way the Blazers starters were shooting the ball, it might not have mattered.
Damian Lillard had 21 points, 9 assists, and 6 rebounds, LaMarcus Aldridge had 16 points, and the Portland Trail Blazers rolled over the Chicago Bulls Friday night at Moda Center to extend their winning streak to six.
The game could not have started any better for the Blazers. Aldridge shot 5-of-7, including two three-point shots. Robin Lopez had 6 on 3-of-3 shooting. On the other end of the floor, the defense suffocated the Bulls. Chicago did not hit a second field goal until 5:33 was left in the period. They did not hit their third until 3:13 was remaining.
Unfortunately, while the bench has been one of Portland's strengths this season, the second unit let the Bulls climb back into the game with a late 10-2 run. Chris Kaman beat the buzzer to end the run, and the Blazers led by 11 after one.
The Blazers bench continued to struggle into the second quarter as the Bulls cut the lead to four. The starters were forced to return to action, and Damian Lillard came off the bench with a passion. He shot 4-of-5 in the quarter, had four assists, and played strong defense to help Portland jump back out to a lead as large as 20. Lillard ended up with a positively ridiculous +33 rating in the first half. On the other hand, Will Barton finished the half with a -15 rating, with Steve Blake and Chris Kaman finishing the half at -9. With the starters rolling, the Blazers lead at the half 61-43.
The game got chippy in the third quarter. Off an Aldridge miss, Joakim Noah was knocked to the floor by his own teammate. The ball was sent out to Lillard, who attempted a three, only to be decked by Mike Dunleavy Jr. Wesley Matthews and Aaron Brooks promptly started a shoving match in defense of their respective players. Matthews and Brooks were assessed technical fouls, and Dunleavy was given a flagrant one foul. On the actual basketball side of the game, Lillard and Lopez remained hot to extend the lead to 24 after three quarters.
The game remained almost entirely out of reach for Chicago in the fourth. Tensions remained high after the third quarter, and seemingly both teams simply wanted the game to be over.
Robin Lopez had 12 points, Nicolas Batum had 9 in his return to action after missing four games, and Chris Kaman had 10. Taj Gibson of the Bulls left the game in the third quarter with an ankle injury and did not return.
Gameday Thread Comments of the Night
Blazers win NBA Title: Here’s two hours of interviews with Kobe and LeBron reacting to this turn of events
Did you guys just see that?!?!?!? Dame said "Kevin Costner is an overrated actor" and MDjr said "No he’s not!!!" and shoved Dame to the floor. Unbelievable
Who here thought the best player on the floor in the 4th quarter would be Nikola Mirotic? Yeah, me neither.
by a fan who flunked gym class
#Blazers coach Terry Stotts on Mike Dunleavy's hard foul on Dame: "Obviously it was unnecessary. I don't know what Mike was thinking."— Joe Freeman (@BlazerFreeman) November 22, 2014
Tom Thibodeau says he doesn't think Taj Gibson's ankle injury is serious— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) November 22, 2014
Thibs: Dunleavy/Matthews incident was "part of the game... Lots of frustration... We gave up four offensive rebounds on that play"— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) November 22, 2014
Taj Gibson in calf-length boot, on crutches due to L ankle injury. "Frustrated... re-aggravated... It was already tender... Same old thing."— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) November 22, 2014
LaMarcus Aldridge's new nickname for Chris Kaman: "Kobe Kaman."— Erik Gundersen (@blazerbanter) November 22, 2014
Damian Lillard on Mike Dunleavy's hard foul: "Cheap ... I thought it was a cheap play."— Joe Freeman (@BlazerFreeman) November 22, 2014
Batum said that with him coming back, Wes could be Wes. "He kept saying the last couple of games 'I have to be you.'"— Erik Gundersen (@blazerbanter) November 22, 2014
Dunleavy very good on flagrant foul. Said he was merely trying to stop action with Noah on ground. Called Lillard "nice kid." Showed remorse— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) November 22, 2014