THE Portland Trailblazers pulled away early in the fourth quarter and held on to beat the Chicago Bulls, 112-110, on Monday (Tuesday, Manila time) at the United Center.
Blazers star Damian Lillard scored 17 points in the first half to give Portland a 65-57 lead at the break. But the Bulls rallied back in the third quarter with an 18-4 run to take the upper hand. Portland then countered with 11 unanswered points after trailing 93-92 at the 8:19 mark to regain the advantage and led by as much as 10, 103-93, midway through the fourth.
The Bulls, even without Rajon Rondo who was suspended for conduct detrimental to the team, got within three, 108-105, with less than two minutes remaining. Lillard answered with four crucial free throws down the stretch to seal Portland’s third straight win, fourth in five games.
Lillard led Portland with 30 points, seven assists, two steals and two blocks. CJ McCollum knocked down four triples to finish with 24 markers, and Allen Crabbe added 17 off the bench for the 12-10 Blazers.
Dwyane Wade had 34 to lead all scorers. Jimmy Butler finished with 26 points, seven rebounds, five assists and two blocks, but the Bulls lost their second straight game and fell to 11-9. Mirotic added 18 off the bench.