NBA scores: Bulls falter on west coast, Knicks stay hot after first loss

Steve Dykes-US PRESSWIRE

The annual west coast road trip has put the Bulls into their first bind of the season while the Knicks seem to be headed in the right direction despite their first loss.

The Chicago Bulls' impressive early start to the season gave way to some struggles over the weekend as the team treks through its annual "circus road trip" on the West Coast. A pair of losses to the Los Angeles Clippers and Portland Trail Blazers has dropped Chicago to under .for the first time this season after a 3-1 start.

After kicking off the road trip with an overtime victory over the Phoenix Suns last Wednesday despite blowing a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter, the Bulls had trouble keeping up with L.A. on Saturday night. Blake Griffin paved the way with 26 points and 10 rebounds while Jamal Crawford, a former Bull, added 22 points off the bench.

Things didn't get much better on Sunday, either, as the Bulls faltered following a strong start to lose 102-94 in Portland. Despite a big game from Joakim Noah -- 16 points on 8-of-12 shooting, 15 rebounds, 8 assists -- the Bulls struggled on defense and ended their own possessions without a shot far too frequently.

The New York Knicks had a better weekend despite suffering their first loss on Friday, rebounding to easily beat the Indiana Pacers 88-76 on Sunday with a suffocating defensive effort. Despite shooting just 37 percent from the field, the Knicks limited their turnovers and gave Indiana little to nothing on the defense end.

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