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Outlaw provides spark as Blazers top Bulls

Jan 13, 2009 - 5:32 AM CHICAGO (Ticker) -- With their two highest scorers struggling, the Portland Trail Blazers got an unexpected lift on their way to a third straight win.

Travis Outlaw scored 23 of his season-high 33 points in the second half, propelling the Trail Blazers to a 109-95 triumph over the Chicago Bulls on Monday.

Greg Oden added 17 points and 13 rebounds and Steve Blake contributed 16 and 10 assists for the Blazers, who knocked down 11-of-23 shots from the arc and 30-of-34 from the free-throw line.

All-Star Brandon Roy scored just 11 points on 3-of-13 shooting in his second game back from a strained hamstring and LaMarcus Aldridge also struggled, registering eight points - more than nine below his season average of 17.6.

"It was just one of those nights where my teammates found me open and I was able to stay hot most of the game," Outlaw said. "I knew I had it going when I hit my first three shots in the second half. From the second half on, we felt we had the game."

But Outlaw more than picked up the slack. He scored 10 straight points for Portland in the middle of the third quarter to hold off Chicago, which pulled to within five, 83-78, with 7:58 left in the fourth quarter after a free throw by rookie Derrick Rose.

Portland reeled off an 11-0 run thanks to 3-pointers by Roy, Blake and Rudy Fernandez and led by double digits the rest of the way. Outlaw scored the final 10 points of the game to keep the Bulls at bay.

"Basically we had some good spurts out there," Portland coach Nate McMillan said. "At times we caught not moving our feet, which allowed them a few chances to get back in the game. We did keep our composure and we won the game."

The return of both Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich was not enough for the Bulls, who were unable to rebound after an embarrassing 109-98 overtime loss to Oklahoma City on Saturday.

"It was nice to get Kirk and Luol back in the lineup, but we need to have some practice time as a unit and get our rotations together," Chicago coach Vinny Del Negro said.

Deng had 14 points and five rebounds after missing eight games with a sprained left ankle and Hinrich, who was sidelined 31 games due to surgery on his left thumb, had four points and three assists in over 20 minutes.

"It felt good to be back out there," Hinrich said. "I was a little rusty but it was definitely good to be back in the mix."

Drew Gooden had 22 points and nine rebounds to lead Chicago and Rose recorded his fifth double-double of the season with 13 points and 10 assists.

"We have to find a way to play a complete game," Gooden said. "If we could just play four quarters like our first quarter, we would be on our way."