Bulls keep on rolling with victory over Trail BlazersMar 27, 2007 - 4:46 AM CHICAGO (Ticker) -- Luol Deng and the Chicago Bulls keep on rolling.
Deng scored a career-high 38 points as the Bulls posted a 100-89 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.
Kirk Hinrich scored 21 points and Ben Gordon netted 17 for Chicago (42-30), which moved within 1 1/2 games of the fourth-place Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference.
The Bulls, who also pulled within 1 1/2 games of the second-place Cleveland Cavaliers in the Central Division, have won eight of their last 11 contests and are 13-5 since the All-Star break.
Deng shot 72 percent (18-of-25) from the field and sank both of his free throws en route to his career night.
"I felt good tonight," Deng said. "My shots felt good. The few I missed I felt like I should have just taken my time and they would have gone in."
"He (Deng) played well," Portland coach Nate McMillan said. "He did not force anything and we tried to limit his slashes and make him shoot from outside. When we did that, he hit those shots."
Deng keyed a crucial 8-0 run in the fourth quarter as Chicago pulled away. His two free throws gave the Bulls an 82-76 advantage with 5:45 left. Chris Duhon and rookie Tyrus Thomas hit layups before Deng sank a 12-foot jumper to increase the lead to 88-76 with 4:29 left.
"They just turned up the pressure and we had a couple of turnovers," Portland rookie LaMarcus Aldridge said. "We couldn't come back."
Aldridge scored 20 points and Zach Randolph added 17 for the Trail Blazers (29-42), who failed to gain critical ground on the Los Angeles Clippers (34-36) for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Randolph returned after missing three contests due to bereavement leave and only shot 40 percent (4-of-10) from the floor.
Shorthanded Portland played without Ime Udoka, who left with a concussion at halftime. He played just 12 minutes in the first quarter before leaving with his second concussion this season.
Blazers rookie Brandon Roy also missed the game because his girlfriend was scheduled to give birth.
"We missed him tonight, he is a big part of this team," Randolph said. "We could have used his outside offensive threat."
Chicago has won nine of 12 home games to improve to 27-9 at the United Center this season.
Portland has lost six of its last nine contests.
CHICAGO 100 FINAL
Mar 26 10:56 PM
CHICAGO 69 END, 3RD QTR
Mar 26 10:22 PM
CHICAGO 41 HALFTIME
Mar 26 9:40 PM
CHICAGO 25 END, 1ST QTR
Mar 26 9:12 PM
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