|Nam Y. Huh/AP Photo|
Rip City: This game was close for about the first 12 minutes and then the Chicago Bulls forgot how to pay defense allowing a 14-0 run in the second quarter to the Portland Trail Blazers, who would build on their lead from then on and never once let their foot off the gas pedal. LaMarcus Aldridge led the way with a game-high 28 points (14 of 23) and 8 rebounds, while the rookie, Damian Lillard chipped in for 24 points (9 of 17) and 7 assists in the victory. Taj Gibson of the Bulls returned for first time since spraining his MCL about three weeks ago. He had 14 points on 14 shots and 9 boards off the bench. Joakim Noah went for 18 points on 7 of 10 shooting and 6 rebounds in 27 minutes, which could possibly the fewest amount of playing time he has had in this whole season, because you know, Coach Thibs is kind of crazy.
Gold Rush: For the first time this week, the Denver Nuggets scored less than 68 points in the paint, going for only 48 against the Philadelphia 76ers last night at the Pepsi Center. In the absence of Ty Lawson and Wilson Chandler, Andre Miller stepped into the starting spot to finish with 21 points (9 of 14) and 8 assists. Corey Bewer exploded off the bench for 29 points on 10 of 18 shooting (5 of 6 from three) and 5 steals in win. Down 2 with only 2.7 seconds remaining, Brewer drew a 3 point shooting foul from Damien Wilkins, who scored a season-high 24 points (10-15), for a chance to give Denver the lead, which he does after sinking all three free throws With only 2 seconds left, Damien Wilkins tried for a game winning 23 footer, but would get blocked by Anthony Randolph to secure the Nugget's 14th straight win. Philly either really wanted this game, and I don't see why they would, or they are really bad at this tanking thing. The thing, where you lose games on purpose to get a good lottery pick in the draft, in hopes repairing the damages from signing Andrew Bynum.
Bottom of the Barrel: When two of the worst teams in the West face off against one anther, things aren't going to be pretty. Especially, if one of those teams have missing a few of their core players. But good news for the Minnesota Timberwolves. After missing most of the season with a torn left meniscus, Chase Budinger returned in uniform for the first time, coming off the bench for 9 points (3 of 7) and 4 rebounds in 18 minutes of play. Unfortunately, he did not make much of an impact from the outside as expected, as the Wolves would go 1 for 19 from beyond the arc. Nikola Pekovic had a team-high 18 points (6 of 12) and 12 boards in their 9 straight loss on the road. King's Isiah Tomas went for 24 points on 8 of 15 shooting and 6 dimes. Tyreke Evans, who has been quietly impressive in this season, added 21 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists.