Posted November 18, 2012 on
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Portland Trail Blazers
Los Angeles Clippers
Weber State Wildcats
The Portland Trail Blazers were going through some shaky times the last time they were preparing to face the Chicago Bulls.
New coach Terry Stotts seems to have a solid foundation in place now with rookie Damian Lillard playing alongside LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews.
Portland goes for its first three-game winning streak since the start of last season on Sunday night when the visiting Bulls try to avoid their first set of back-to-back losses this season.
With the Blazers in 12th place in the Western Conference at 20-23, the team fired coach Nate McMillan on March 15 and replaced him with interim coach Kaleb Canales. It was the same day Portland waived former No. 1 overall pick Greg Oden and added Gerald Wallace, Jonny Flynn and the expiring contracts of Mehmet Okur, Shawne Williams and Hasheem Thabeet via trades.
The following day, the Blazers posted a 100-89 victory at Chicago, as Aldridge scored 21 points, Matthews added 18 and Batum finished with 15 against a Bulls team playing without former MVP Derrick Rose (strained groin).
Portland (4-5) will again face Chicago (5-4) without Rose, who continues to rehab an ACL tear suffered last postseason.
While the Bulls try to move on without their leading scorer, the Blazers have received a major boost from Lillard, the No. 6 overall pick. The rookie from Weber State is averaging 19.3 points and 6.4 assists after scoring a season-best 27 with five assists in 119-117 overtime win over Houston on Friday.
"Took big shots, made big shots," Aldridge said of Lillard, who scored 16 of the team's final 21 points.
Lillard is not alone. In the last two contests, Aldridge, Batum, Matthews and Lillard have combined for 180 of the team's 222 points and 19 of its 24 3-pointers to help Portland bounce back from a four-game skid.
Friday marked the first time three Blazers scored 27 or more since Nov. 14, 1997, as Batum finished with a career high-tying 35 and Aldridge added 29.
That does not bode well for a Bulls team that's surrendered 101 points or more in three consecutive games following Saturday's 101-80 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Chicago also has problems to fix on the offensive end after shooting 33.7 percent (30 for 89), including 2 for 14 from long range.
The Bulls have a league-low 33 3s.
"I think we took a couple of steps back tonight," said Joakim Noah, who followed up a 21-point outing in Wednesday's 112-106 OT win at Phoenix with four points on a career-worst 0-for-6 effort from the field.
The Bulls also need more production from Luol Deng, who scored 14 points on Saturday in one his worst shooting nights of the season (5 for 16).
Carlos Boozer, though, has come up big in the last two games, totaling 50 points and 26 rebounds.
Boozer, who had 22 points and 14 rebounds in last season's loss to the Blazers, grabbed a career-best 23 boards in a 93-89 OT victory at Portland on Feb. 21, 2010, while with Utah.
Aldridge, a Bulls first-round pick in 2006, is averaging 30.4 points and 8.4 rebounds in his last five games against the Bulls.
The Blazers' big man had a career-best 42 points in Chicago's last visit to the Rose Garden, a 109-103 Portland win on Feb. 7, 2011.
Portland has won four straight and 10 of 12 at home in this series.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
An untethered Nicolas Batum, as opponents are learning, is dangerous. During 4 seasons playing for former Portland Trail Blazers Coach Nate McMillan, Batum made steady progress. Joining the Blazers as a 19-year-old, Batum increased his scoring from 5.4 ppg his rookie season to 13.9 ppg during the 2011-2012 season. As Batum’s game matured, Nate McMillan’s utilization of...
During the offseason, there was chatter all across Portland and all around the league about whether Nicolas Batum was worth a $40 million dollar contract. Well as of November 16th, he has quieted a lot of that chatter.
The big crack on Batum has always been inconsistency and shrinking in big games. So far this season, he has been spectacular, especially against Houston on Friday...
Nicolas Batum had a career-high 35 points, rookie Damian Lillard sparked a late comeback and the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Houston Rockets 119-117 in overtime Friday night.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 29 points for Portland, including a tiebreaking free throw and key turnaround jumper in the extra session. Lillard, a first-round pick out of Weber State, scored 16 of the Trail Blazers...
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum and LaMarcus Aldridge are the veterans, the guys who are supposed to do the yeoman work for the Portland Trail Blazers. That's precisely what happened Sunday night as the Trail Blazers held off every Chicago challenge in a 102-94 victory over the Bulls at the Rose Garden. Matthews and Batum each scored 21 points, and Aldridge...
Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum scored 21 points apiece and the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Chicago Bulls 102-94 on Sunday night for their first-three-game winning streak since opening last season with a trio of victories.
LaMarcus Aldridge added 18 points and 13 rebounds as all of Portland's starters were in double figures.
After trailing by as many as 15 in the third...
PORTLAND -- Nicolas Batum scored a career-high 35 points and rookie Damian Lillard put up 18 of his season-high 27 points in the second half as Portland upended Houston 119-117 in overtime Friday night at the Rose Garden. LaMarcus Aldridge added 26 points for the Blazers (4-5), including a turnaround 10-footer with 37 seconds left in overtime that provided a 119-116 lead. Batum...
PORTLAND -- Overtime victories over the Houston Rockets are getting to be habit for the Portland Trail Blazers. Nicolas Batum tied his career high with 35 points and rookie Damian Lillard put up 18 of his season-high 27 points after intermission as Portland upended Houston 119-117 in overtime Friday night at the Rose Garden. It was the second overtime win over the Rockets in...
(Stephen Dunn/Getty Images North America)
Line of the Night: Portland may be struggling, but Nicolas Batum (2.86) is not. Thanks to a monster 35 points (5 threes, 13-19 from the field), 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and 5 blocks, Batum has climbed to #4 overall on Give Me The Rock’s Fantasy Basketball Player Rater (and that Top 3 includes the injured Kyle Lowry). Of course, Batum also...
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MA
Outside of Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard — the point guard for the Portland Trail Blazers — is one of the most talked about rookies and candidates for Rookie of the Year. Not only does Lillard bring it on the court, but he also is clutch off the court; just check out the birthday gift he [...]The post Damian Lillard Surprises Mom With New Escalade For Her Birthday (Photo) appeared...
If voting for the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award took place right now, it would be sort of weird since it is only three weeks into the season. But, heck, since All-Star voting has started already, no award discussion is really off limits.
Anyway, if voting for the top rookie happened today, there is a good chance Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard would beat out...
Shooters come alive for Portland
The Headline: L.A. puts up a double-double, and Portland uses a rain of shots to sink the Rose-less Bulls 102-94.
Chicago Bulls vs. Portland Trail Blazers
When: 9:00 ET, Sunday, November 18, 2012
Where: Rose Garden (Portland)
Officials: Rodney Mott, Pat Fraher, Kevin Cutler
1. Great outside shooting
Once again, Blazer...