Homestand Streak Extends To Three With Win Versus Bulls

by Casey Holdahl
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PORTLAND -- After a too-close-for-comfort first half, the Portland Trail Blazers methodically pulled away from the Chicago Bulls in the second half to come away with a 124-112 victory in front of a sellout crowd of 19,393 Wednesday night at the Moda Center.

The Trail Blazers are now 25-17 overall and 17-7 at home this season. Portland has now won three straight, five of their last six and seven of their last 10. The win is also the Trail Blazers’ fourth straight versus the Bulls.

Despite having just 10 wins this season, the Bulls gave the Trail Blazers just about all they could handle in the first half. Chicago shot 62 percent from the field and 60 percent from three in the first quarter.

And while the Trail Blazers weren’t much worse from the field, they went just 2-of-10 from three in the first quarter, which helped the Bulls go into the second trailing by just a point despite turning the ball over four times.

Portland went up 10 in the second quarter, but a quick 6-2 Bulls run to end the half cut that lead to 56-51 going into the intermission.

But between the five-point halftime advantage and outscoring Chicago by five in the third quarter, Portland took a 95-85 lead into the fourth quarter. Damian Lillard, who took just four shots in the first half, scored 10 points in the quarter to kickstart Portland's steady pull away.

"I think that our past few games... they’ve been teams that we’ve been able to get things that we might not have been able to get against those other teams because you’re so familiar with them, their style," said Lillard. "So I’ve just been kind of letting the game happen, just making the right plays and guys have been playing really well."

From there, a 15-4  Portland run gave the Trail Blazers their largest lead of the night at 117-98 with just over five minutes to play in regulation. The Trail Blazers' bench unit did most of the damage, scoring 26 of their 29 fourth-quarter points.

"A couple coaches told me before the game that this was an energy game and we were going to have to come in there and be more energetic than the other team, compete harder," said Zach Collins. "And that's what we did.

A few minutes later, Terry Stotts pulled his starters and put in the rookies to ride out the remainder of what would be a 12-point victory.

“We tightened up," said Damian Lillard. "I think the first half, we had some good moments but in the second half, we just tightened everything up. We started to get a few more stops. The end of the ball movement was turning into points. We kept trusting each other and we made more shots. It was good energy in the game. We got something from a lot of guys. When we get those types of efforts from so many different people, we’re going to get this type of result.”

TOP PERFORMERS

CJ McCollum had a team-high 24 points (10-14 FG, 2-4 3-PT, 2-2 FT) to go with three re-bounds and four assists. Jusuf Nurkic recorded 18 points (7-11 FG, 4-5 FT), eight rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block. Nurkic has scored at least 18 points in seven of the last eight games.

Damian Lillard finished with 16 points (4-12 FG, 2-5 3-PT, 6-6 FT), one rebound and 10 assists. It was his second double-double in the last three games and his fifth of the season.

Seth Curry led Portland’s bench in scoring, finishing with 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting (3-5 3-PT) to go with one rebound and one steal. He has made a three-pointer in 12 straight games. Zach Collins had 16 points (6-9 FG, 2-3 3-PT, 2-2 FT), nine rebounds, a career-high four assist, one steal and one block before fouling out in 26 minutes.

Meyers Leonard finished with eight points and six rebounds while shooting a perfect 4-of-4 from the field and Nik Stauskas, playing for the first time since sitting out the last three games scored eight points (3-4 FG, 2-3 3-PT) to go with three rebounds and three assists in 16 minutes off the bench.

Wendell Carter Jr. led Chicago with 22 points (7-9 FG, 1-1 3-PT, 7-7 FT) to go with six rebounds and one assist. Zach LaVine scored 12 of his 18 points in the first half and Bobby Portis went 3-of-6 from three for 15 points off the bench.

LISTEN UP

NOTABLE

• Portland won its third straight game and improved to 5-1 in its last six contests.

• The Trail Blazers assisted on 28 of their 47 field goals. It was Portland’s fourth straight game with at least 25 assists, the longest streak of the season.

• The Trail Blazers shot 47-of-83 from the field (56.6%). It was the team’s second-highest field goal percentage of the season. Chicago shot 46.2% from the field (43-of-93).

• The Trail Blazers reserves outscored the Bulls bench, 56-41. Portland’s bench shot a combined 23-of-36 from the field (63.9%) and 7-of-11 from the three-point line (63.6%).

• Portland improved to 6-0 when the bench scores at least 50 points.

• Portland outrebounded Chicago, 43-37, and outscored the Bulls in the paint, 60-56.

• All 12 of the Portland players that played scored.

QUOTABLE

"It took Portis to hit like four threes for me to take away his threes, so I'm frustrated about that. Otherwise, I was pretty happy with how I played defensively other than six fouls."

NEXT UP

The Trail Blazers wrap up a five-game homestand with their third straight game versus an Eastern Conference opponent when they host the Charlotte Hornets Friday night at the Moda Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.