Vucevic and DeRozan help Bulls beat Trail Blazers 130-116 | Basketball

By JOHN JACKSON – Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) — Nikola Vucevic had 24 points and 14 rebounds, DeMar DeRozan added 23 points and 10 assists, and the Chicago Bulls overcame a slow start to beat the Portland Trail Blazers 130-116 on Sunday.

Zach LaVine had 20 points, Coby White added 18 and Ayo Dosunmu finished with 11 assists. Chicago won three of four to move to 31-18.

CJ McCollum had 29 points for Portland. Norman Powell added 22 and Anfernee Simons had 21.

The Trail Blazers made seven of their first nine 3-point attempts for a 35-29 lead after the first quarter before the Bulls resumed the effort defensively.

“In the past, with some of the games we lost, we understand it was because our defense wasn’t good enough,” Vucevic said. “Even tonight, to start the game, they really got going. Once we were able to get some saves, we were able to build a bit of a lead.

“If we really want to be a really good team and have a deep push at the end of the year, our defense has to be there. We’ve shown we can do it. It’s just a matter of doing it every night. for 48 minutes.

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Chicago had him click on the offensive end throughout, going 50-90 from the field.

“We let them get comfortable, and when you let a team get comfortable, especially at home, it’s hard to bring them back on foot,” Portland coach Chauncey said. Billups. “They had 21 assists at halftime. It’s not just one guy going crazy. It’s everyone getting comfortable. They were moving the basketball, everyone was doing shots and we were never able to control them.

Portland led for much of the first half before Chicago took control late. Trailing 51-50 with just under six minutes left in the second quarter, the Bulls had a 20-8 run to take a 70-59 lead. They led 73-65 at halftime and took a 104-92 advantage in the fourth.

The Trail Blazers managed to stay within striking distance with a searing 3-point shot. They were 17 of 33 behind the arc for three quarters.

Chicago scored 20 points in the first 6 1/2 minutes of the final quarter.

With Vucevic and LaVine rested, Matt Thomas came off the bench to score seven points in the first four minutes of the fourth.

Vucevic has 26 double-doubles this season. “I’m very proud of the consistency,” he said. “It’s something I’ve done my whole career. I’m very proud of it, especially the rebound part, which I can control every night no matter what happens.

Trail Blazers: F Larry Nance Jr. was mistakenly announced as a starter during pregame introductions, but the team hopes he’ll return soon after sitting out since Jan. 6 with knee inflammation right. “I don’t know when,” Billups said. “He is improving every day. He’s getting better.

Bulls: LaVine had struggled with his forward perimeter shot on Sunday since returning from a left knee injury last week. In the previous three games, he was a combined 6 for 25 on 3-pointers. However, he still managed to score at least 23 points in every game. LaVine was 3 for 9 on 3-pointers Sunday.

Trail Blazers: At Oklahoma Monday night.

Bulls: Host Orlando on Tuesday night.

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