Chicago vs. Portland: How the Blazers Pulled Away for Their Third Straight Win
Steve Dykes-US PRESSWIRE
The Blazers (5-5) improved to 3-2 when all five starters scored in double figures. They also upped their record to 4-3 when the bench scored at least 10 points.
Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum led Portland with 21 points each, and backup point guard Ronnie Price had an excellent game by adding 10 points and five assists—both season highs—to give Portland enough punch to pull away in the fourth quarter.
Here are the grades, analysis and breakdown of the Blazers' victory.
Player of the Game
Wesley Matthews: 21 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 9-15 FG
Matthews earns his first Player of the Game honors in this section, scoring 10 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter.
The 26-year-old has been the glue for Portland's starting lineup, hiding behind the shadows of rookie sensation Damian Lillard, All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge and up-and-coming Nicolas Batum.
Matthews' defense can always be counted upon, and his offense late in the game was just as spectacular in the win. He also has made at least one three-pointer in every game this season (via Trail Blazers PR on Twitter).
Key Moment of the Game
After the Bulls tied the game, 73-73, to begin the fourth quarter, Portland went on a 14-2 run with 13 of the points scored by Matthews, Batum and Price.
The Blazers led by as many as 12 points before Chicago made a late charge by cutting it to 98-94 with 13 seconds to go.
But Portland hung on behind Aldridge's two free throws.
Lillard had a solid game with 16 points, three assists and three steals in a season-low 32 minutes.
A small incident occurred at the end when Lillard dunked the ball with one second left. Words were exchanged between Lillard and the Chicago players.
Chalk that up to a rookie gaining a learning experience.
Tweets of the Night
Nice win fellas! 3 straight gotta keep it going. #ripcity #ohgod
— Wesley Matthews (@wessywes2) November 18, 2012
Great win tonight. Made a rookie mistake at the end. Didn't mean any disrespect to the Bulls. Much respect for that team.
— Damian Lillard (@Dame_Lillard) November 18, 2012
Lillard said he didn't mean any disrespect by last-second dunk. Said he "didn't know what to do" and next time will "dribble the ball out."
— Joe Freeman, The Oregonian (@BlazerFreeman) November 18, 2012
Steve Dykes-US PRESSWIRE
What They Said
"It feels good, getting our juices going, our confident going," said Matthews, who had 21 points. "We're finally playing like a team that knows how to win." (Via ESPN.com.)
“I told him, ‘You can’t do that; you got to be smart,’ ’’ Bulls forward Taj Gibson said when asked about confronting Lillard after the game at halfcourt. (Via Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times.)
There was enough disrespect in the way the Bulls failed to defend and turned it over. (Via K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.)
Final Grade: A
It was a complete team effort for the Blazers, who received solid bench play from Price and Jared Jeffries.
Each Blazer starter was effective, contributing in some way.
After Portland lost four in a row, it has now won three straight games. Expect these types of streaks to continue for the young Blazers.
But if the bench can come up with at least 10-15 points per game, these streaks will be more on the winning side.
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