Saturday, December 13, 2014
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Rose leads Bulls past Trail Blazers

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[December 13, 2014]  CHICAGO -- Derrick Rose visualized how he'd play against the Portland Trail Blazers before he even stepped on the floor Friday night at the United Center.

The Chicago Bulls' injury-plagued star guard then did exactly as planned, scoring 31 in an impressive 115-106 victory that snapped a seven-game losing streak to the Trail Blazers (17-6).

After missing most of the past two seasons with separate knee injuries and dealing with new ailments this year, Rose played his best game to date in his ninth straight time on the floor following a hamstring issue.

"My mindset was already made up at the beginning of the game and (Thursday)) night actually," said Rose, who scored 10 points in the fourth to help close it out. "It was just coming out attacking and just seeing what was going to happen."

Rose was quick to the basket and fast in transition. The Bulls (14-8) needed it to counter 35-point games by forward LaMarcus Aldridge and guard Damian Lillard. Rose also took over the Bulls' scoring burden at key points, including an 11-point first quarter to help offset Aldridge's 21 points in that frame.

"We all feel he is going to be back to the guys he was," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said of Rose, the former league MVP. "He is going step-by-step. He has to keep building and keep attacking. When he is aggressive like that, there is no one like him."

There aren't many teams in the NBA like the Bulls when they spread out their scoring. Chicago only had eight players log time and six finished in double-figures scoring, led by Rose.

Forward Paul Gasol finished with his eighth double-double in a row and 14th of the season by scoring 13 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Forward Taj Gibson logged a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Chicago also got 15 points from rookie Nikola Mirotic, 17 from reserve guard Aaron Brooks, 11 from guard Jimmy Butler and eight each by guard Kirk Hinrich and forward Mike Dunleavy.

The Bulls' bench outscored the Trail Blazers' reserves 40-15. Chicago also outscored Portland 60-34 in the paint and beat the Trail Blazers in transition by topping them 19-5 in fast-break points.

Aside from Aldridge and Lillard, guard Wesley Matthews (10 points) was the only other Portland player to reach double figures.

"They had 60 points in the paint," Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. "They had 51 shots there. They had a lot of penetration and transition to get those points. It was disappointing. We had been playing better defensively of late. Today we took a step back."

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Portland has lost two games in a row for just the second time this season. Prior to the skid, the Trail Blazers had won five straight and 14 of their previous 15. It was also their first loss to a team from the Eastern Conference (10-1).

Led by Aldridge and Lillard, Portland had a good night offensively. The Trail Blazers hit 43 of 88 shots to shoot 48.9 percent from the floor and drilled 12 of 24 from behind the 3-point line (50 percent). They also led 28-24 after the first quarter thanks to Aldridge hitting 10 of his first 12 shots, including a three.

Aldridge was held to 10 points in the second half, but Lillard picked it up. He scored 22 of his points in the last two quarters, including 18 in the fourth.

All three played Friday and combined for 52 points.

"It is disappointing to waste a good shooting night like this," Stotts said. "We got it going early. In the fourth quarter, Rose and Brooks had it going. I said before that he looked like the Derrick Rose of before. He looked like himself when he made those aggressive moves to the basket."

NOTES: Bulls F Taj Gibson started for F/C Joakim Noah (right ankle), who missed his second straight game. ... Chicago also played without F Doug McDermott (right knee), who missed his fourth straight game and fifth overall. He is scheduled to have arthroscopic knee surgery on Saturday, and there is no timetable for his return. ... Portland played without backup SG C.J. McCollum (fractured right index finger). ... Trail Blazers G Damian Lillard came into the game shooting just 37.0 percent (20 of 54) from the field and 20 percent from the 3-point line (5 of 25) in three games since spraining two fingers on his right (shooting) hand Dec. 4 against the Indiana Pacers. He was 13 for 21 on Friday, including 7-for-11 shooting on 3-pointers.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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