Portland, OR (Sports Network) – LaMarcus Aldridge posted a career-best 42 points and grabbed eight rebounds, carrying the short-handed Portland Trail Blazers on his back to a 109-103 victory over the Chicago Bulls at the Rose Garden.
“He (Aldridge) beat us down the floor, he posted us up, he got us in pick-and- rolls, he put it on the floor,” Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said of Aldrige’s total offensive game.
Playing without Dante Cunningham, Marcus Camby (left knee) and still missing an injured Brandon Roy, Portland turned to Aldridge and veteran point guard Andre Miller, who posted 27 points, 11 assists and six rebounds.
Nicolas Batum donated 12 points and Rudy Fernandez had 18 off the bench, but the star was Aldridge, who made 15-of-23 shots and 12-of-14 from the charity stripe in the team’s second straight win.
Derrick Rose posted a team-best 36 points with six assists, while Carlos Boozer contributed 17 points and 12 rebounds in defeat.
After the game, Batum had a jab for Rose, who many league observers put as a top contender for league MVP honors at this point in the season.
“He’s a great offensive player, but he can’t play defense,” Batum said of Rose.
Luol Deng totaled 15 points and Kyle Korver 14 off the bench for the Bulls, who have lost two straight. Chicago’s lack of scoring depth was its downfall, as starters Kurt Thomas and Keith Bogans combined for just two points on 1-of-6 shooting.
Aldridge went to work in the third stanza, scoring 15 of Portland’s 25 points. The big man and Miller combined for all but two of the Trail Blazers’ points in the period, as the point guard’s layup capped six successive points for a 65-56 lead nearing the five-minute mark. Chicago pushed back as it saw the game slipping way thanks to Rose, who scored 10 points in the period and pulled up to drain a mid-range jumper for a 73-71 game late in the period. Portland took a 75-72 lead into the final 12 minutes.
Again, Portland turned to Aldridge in the final period, when he scored 13 more points, totaling 28 points in the second half. He got some help from Fernandez, who made a reverse layup then wisely drew a foul beyond the arc, draining all three free throws for an 89-83 margin.
Chicago never got the margin to one possession, slicing the deficit to four points at 100-96 on Rose’s three-pointer with 1:11 to play. Aldridge, however, answered with a tough turnaround jumper then an offensive foul on Chicago’s Taj Gibson closed the book on the contest.
Neither team pulled away in the first quarter with Batum’s two free throws giving Portland a small 28-26 edge. Portland led by as many as seven points in the second quarter, but Chicago rallied to actually take a one-point edge before settling for a 50-50 stalemate after 24 minutes of action.
Portland made 51.5 percent of its shots and 37-of-40 free throws. In comparison, the Bulls shot just 18 free throws, making 11, for a 26-point difference from the foul line…Chicago connected on just 4-of-16 long-range attempts, with Rose and Deng making a combined 1-of-10…The Bulls hung around thanks to 17 offensive rebounds, five from Boozer and four from Omer Asik, who totaled nine points and five rebounds off the bench…Aldridge’s old career high was 40 points just last Tuesday versus San Antonio…The game featured 10 ties and 20 lead changes, most coming in the first half…Portland held an 18-4 edge in fastbreak points, while Chicago racked up a 26-2 edge in second- chance points.