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NBA -- Blazers overwhelm Bulls at United Center


PhilBoxing.com




CHICAGO -- After dealing with injuries, Taj Gibson and Kirk Hinrich returned to the Chicago Bulls lineup Thursday night. But besides providing an emotional boost in the first quarter of play, their return did little to stop the Portland Trail Blazers from scoring an easy 99-89 victory at a sold-out United Center.

Employing their speed, length and athleticism, the Blazers began pulling away in the second quarter, where they outscored the Bulls 32-16. Portland's lead grew as large as 28 and the Bulls could get no closer than 10 points the rest of the way.

All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge had a heyday in the perimeter with 28 points and eight rebounds while Rookie of the Year candidate had 24 points and seven assists. Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews also had 11 each for the Blazers, who outscored the Bulls 30-12 from 3-point territory.

"We rotated on the pick-and roll very well. This was one of our best efforts all year. When you play against a physical team in the paint like they are, you have to match that effort," Aldridge told NBA.com as the Portland Trail Blazers improved to 32-36 to keep their dim playoffs hopes alive.

Center Joakim Noah led the Bulls with 18 points and six rebounds and Carlos Boozer had 18 and 11 boards. Gibson had a solid 14 points and nine rebounds but Hinrich missed six of seven shots for a mere two points as the Bulls shot only 43.8 percent from the field.

Despite the loss, the 36-31 Bulls stayed at the No.6 spot in the Eastern Conference standings. (FMJ)

All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge peppered the Bulls for 28 points as Portland scored an easy 99-89 victory at the United Center.


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