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Trail Blazers 99, Bulls 89

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CHICAGO - LaMarcus Aldridge scored 28 points and the Portland Trail Blazers used a better start to produce a 99-89 victory over the Chicago Bulls at the United Center.

Rookie guard Damien Lillard added 24 points, while center J.J. Hickson set a new career-high with 21 rebounds.

Most of all, the Blazers learned from a recent mistake. In Tuesday's loss at Milwaukee, they scored just 8 points in the second quarter and fell behind by27 points at halftime.

Against the Bulls, Portland started the second quarter with a 14-0 run and continued to build the lead. The Blazers were up 52-37 at intermission and 80-53 at the end of three quarters.

Chicago finally woke up and opened the fourth quarter with a 16-4 run, but the deficit was too big to overcome. Joakim Noah led the Bulls with 18 points and Carlos Boozer had 16. Neither of those players saw action in the fourth quarter.

Bulls forward Taj Gibson made a nice return from 10 games off with a sprained left knee, finishing with 14 points and 9 rebounds. Kirk Hinrich also returned from injury, but managed just 2 points and 3 assists, while struggling to stop Lillard.

Lillard hit 9-of-17 shots from the field, while Portland went 10-for-21 from 3-point range. The Blazers improved their road record to 10-25.

Earlier Thursday, injured Bulls star Derrick Rose gave an update on his recovery from knee surgery. He hasn't played in a game since the injury occurred last year on April 28 and still doesn't have a return date in mind.

"It could be tomorrow and I could feel like I could play the next game," Rose said. "Nobody knows but God."

The Bulls have 15 games left in the regular season, but Rose isn't planning to put any sort of deadline on his potential return. He's also said he's willing to wait until next season if the knee doesn't feel right.

"I feel like when I'm ready to come back, I'll be ready, no matter when it is," he said. "I don't care. Whenever I'm ready, I'll be out there. (I'm) still taking my time. Still trying to be patient, listen to my body and just be patient right now."

NOTES: While the Bulls continue to wait for Derrick Rose's return, they did welcome back a couple of injured players on Thursday. Kirk Hinrich was in the starting lineup against Portland after missing seven games with a sore right foot, while forward Taj Gibson was back after sitting out 10 games with a sprained left knee. ... Forward Malcolm Thomas, who signed to a 10-day contract Tuesday, made his first appearance in a Bulls uniform. ... Chicago forward Carlos Boozer was called for a flagrant foul in the first quarter when he hit J.J. Hickson in the side of the head trying to contest a lay-up. ... Against Milwaukee on Tuesday, the Blazers trailed by 27 points at halftime. Against the Bulls, Portland opened a 19-point advantage in the second quarter.
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