The Bulls took a 59-51 half-time lead and survived a 25 point first half by Portland’s F LaMarcus Aldridge. Aldridge had the highest point total at half-time of the young season. In the second half, the Bulls found their game, they passed well, and players shot well, particularly in the fourth quarter The Bulls hit 50% of its shots from the floor and had a sizable free-throw advantage, converting 22 of 28 .
Blazers’ guard Damian Lillard exploded for 35 points and in the fourth quarter he and Rose hit shot after shot. Aaron Brooks made some nice shots, prompting the ESPN announcer to say, “They are putting on a floating convention.” Lillard, Rose, and Brooks made shots that looked like tear-drops.
Five Chicago Bulls players hit double figures: Aaron Brooks came off the bench to score 17 points. F Nikola Mirotic scored 15, 13 coming in the first-half. Pau Gasol had 13 points and 12 boards, his 14th double-double of the season. F Taj Gibson scored 12 and grabbed 10 rebounds, a strong game, once again. Jimmy Butler added added 11 points.
This was one of the best games the Bulls played this season against a Western Conference club that surely will be in the playoffs. The Trail Blazers were 10-0 versus Eastern Conference teams until tonight. Chicago won it’s fourth game at the United Center and now sports a 14-8 record.
Rose used his inside game well tonight and had his outside shot falling. “My teammates kept giving me the ball,” Rose said.