Bulls Trounce Blazers Before Key Road Game
Chicago 95, Portland 66
CHICAGO, March 14 (Ticker) -- Ben Gordon and the Chicago Bulls made it a point not to look ahead to a pivotal contest.
Gordon scored 23 points as the Bulls rolled to a 95-66 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers, who had their lowest offensive output of the season.
"It was real good game for us," Gordon said. "Everybody got to play and hopefully we can use it for some momentum in (Wednesday's) game."
The Bulls took care of business Tuesday against the Trail Blazers, who were coming off a home win over Phoenix. Gordon played 37 minutes, but no other Chicago player logged more than 26.
"We did what we had to do," Bulls coach Scott Skiles said. "We came out and played with energy, I thought we had good ball movement. Our shot selection was excellent, and I think they were a little bit off."
Kirk Hinrich scored nine of his 13 points in the opening quarter to nullify the 12 points scored by Portland's Zach Randolph and give Chicago a 24-18 lead.
"It was important to get off to a quick start," Hinrich said. "We wanted to get everybody in the game so we could be ready for (Wednesday) night."
Chicago pushed the advantage to 46-37 at the half, and Gordon scored 10 points in the third quarter, when the Bulls broke open the game.
"Ben played so well and took the open shots," Skiles said. "Sometimes he turns those down and ends up taking a more difficult one."
The defense was a catalyst for the rout as the Bulls held the Blazers to 19 or fewer points in every quarter, including a 12-point third period when Portland made just 5-of-20 shots.
"They just wanted this game more than we did," Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. "Chicago looked better than we did and just controlled the game from the start."
Randolph was the only Portland player in double figures with 25 points on 11-of-21 shooting. The rest of the Blazers shot just 16-of-56 (29 percent).
"We just fell apart tonight," Randolph said. "They got out on us and we broke down defensively. They are in a playoff race and they know it."
The Blazers, who came in with the NBA's lowest ranked offense at 89.2 points per game, were further hampered with the absence of starting guard Juan Dixon, who missed his second straight game with left knee tendinitis.