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Bulls celebrate early with win over Blazers

Portland sluggish ahead of holiday in loss to Chicago, 93-88

By Erik Gundersen, Columbian Trail Blazers Writer
Published: November 24, 2015, 10:47pm

PORTLAND — There isn’t a lot of movement or activity on Thanksgiving. For much of Tuesday’s affair, it looked like the Trail Blazers were celebrating early.

The Chicago Bulls defeated the Blazers in a slugfest of a basketball game, 93-88 at the Moda Center. Both teams shot worse than 39 percent from the field.

Chicago’s backcourt duo of Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose combined to score 49 points and 10 assists.

The Blazers offense was listless, lacking the movement of players, the ball and were plagued by a general uncertainty that hovered over their play all night. The Bulls started the game on a 10-0 run.

“It’s tough when you get down 10-0,” Blazers center Mason Plumlee said.

Much of the credit goes to the Bulls–who came into Tuesday’s game in the top-six in the league in points allowed per possession–who worked successfully to stop Portland’s offense from ever getting going.

“I thought we had some good looks late in the 4th quarter that could have turned the tide a little bit,” Stotts said. “After a slow start, I liked the fact that we started competing more on offense and understand how hard we have to play offensively to get those looks.”

Portland tied the game multiple times and had a chance to do so with 20 seconds left and Damian Lillard at the line.

He made the first, but missed the second, caping off a tough offensive 4th quarter for him.

Just a few nights after giving the Moda Center faithful a dose of Lillard Time, Tuesday was a reminder that such a thing is not easy.

Lillard was 4-for-22 overall and 1-10 from the field in the fourth quarter.

“I felt good stepping into each one of them and they just didn’t fall,” Lillard said about his fourth quarter. “I’m willing to be that guy that makes them and I’m willing to be that guy who doesn’t make them and they didn’t fall tonight.”

Lillard finished two assists shy of a triple-double with 19 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.

Rose returned to the Bulls line-up after missing the last two games with a left ankle sprain.

Rose has also been playing with a protective mask all season, the result of an orbital bone fracture during training camp.

It was Rose’s first appearance in the Pacific Northwest since tearing the medial meniscus in his right knee two years ago in Portland, Nov. 22, 2013.

The Bulls worked hard to get the ball from Lillard’s hands.

McCollum and Lillard were a combined 11-of-49 from the field.

At the first half buzzer, Butler hit a shot from half court to put the Bulls up 48-39 at halftime.

The Blazers opened the second half on a 7-0 run, which included Noah Vonleh’s most impressive stretch so far this season: a 3-pointer, a block on Rose at the rim and an alley-oop dunk in 17 seconds of game time.

But the good times in the second half didn’t last for long.

The Bulls quickly ran their lead back up to double-digits as they continued to suck the life out of almost every Blazers possession, leading by eight heading into the fourth quarter.

Plumlee and Butler had to be separated after an altercation between them with 4:17 in the 4th quarter.

Plumlee ran Butler down as he tried to set a screen, then Butler tripped a stumbling Plumlee when he was on the ground.

A replay review gave Plumlee a flagrant foul for running Butler over and assessed a technical to Butler, but both players were allowed to stay in the game.

Plumlee recorded his third straight double-double, but said after the game that the referees made “the right call.”

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Because nothing could ruin Thanksgiving quite like a fine from the NBA.

Butler wasn’t too pleased with paying a fine for a technical, but was in a joking mood after the win, it is the holidays after all.

“Thought we were playing football for a second there,” Butler said. “Basketball, emotions, it’s part of the game. He cost me $2,500. I’m going to ask him to pay me back.”

Butler went on: “I’m going to tell my agent to e-mail him and stuff. I know it’s like misterdukie@yahoo.com.”

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Columbian Trail Blazers Writer