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NBA -- Blazers hand Bulls second straight loss


PhilBoxing.com




CHICAGO -- Blown out by the Clippers last Saturday night, the Chicago Bulls looked headed for a second blowout in two nights when the host Portland Trail Blazers built a 64-49 lead early in the third quarter of their joust Sunday at the Rose Garden.

But the always scrappy Bulls slowly nibbled at the deficit, and when energizer forward Taj Gibson completed an old-fashioned 3-point play on a harm and a foul, the once one-sided affair was suddenly tied at 73 with still 10:50 left in the fourth quarter.

Unfortunately, that was all she wrote for the Bulls as the Blazers responded with eight unanswered points, a fatal blow that ultimately led to Chicago's 102-94 demise. The loss dropped the Bulls to a 5-5 won-lost slate.

Now on the third leg of a five-game road trip, the Bulls get a much-deserved two nights off before they travel to Houston for another tough assignment against the dangerous Rockets, who re-tooled this past summer with the key additions of former New York Knicks sensation Jeremy Lin, reigning NBA Sixth Man James Harden, and ex-Bull Omer Asik.

Streak-shooting Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews had 21 each to lead six Portland players who scored double figures in points. LaMarcus Aldridge fired 18 while point guard Damian Lillard dropped 16. Ronnie Price and J.J. Hickson finished with 10 each.

"We gave ourselves a chance, but we dug such a big hole that it was too much to get out of. The defense, the rebounding, the turnovers....we got to get that part right," a frustrated Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau told NBA.com after the game.

The Bulls, who pride themselves with their take-no-prisoners mentality on defense, allowed the Blazers to shoot 49.4 percent from the field (39-of-79) and 40.9 percent from 3-point range (9-of-22). The Bulls also turned the ball over 19 times.

Although it all went for naught, Joakim Noah had a performance fit for an All-Star --- 16 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists. Nate Robinson came off the bench with 18 while Luol Deng chipped in14. Carlos Boozer took the night off with a mere four points on 2-of-8 shooting. (Homer D. Sayson)


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Homer D. Sayson.


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