EditorsNote: adds “reportedly” to seventh graf
CJ McCollum bombed in a career-high 50 points as the Portland Trail Blazers breezed past the visiting Chicago Bulls 124-108 Wednesday night at Moda Center.
McCollum was 18 of 25 from the field, 6 of 9 from 3-point range and 8 of 8 from the free-throw line in a sterling 29-minute show for the Trail Blazers, who have won four in a row and seven of the past eight.
Damian Lillard chipped in 13 points and seven assists, and Jusuf Nurkic had 12 points and nine rebounds for the Blazers, who never trailed and led by as many as 29 points.
Portland shot a season-best 56.1 percent from the field, including 15 of 32 (46.9 percent) from 3-point range.
Zach LaVine scored 23 points and Denzel Valentine had 15 for the Bulls.
McCollum’s 32 points paced Portland to a 67-44 halftime advantage. The Blazers shot 63.6 percent in the half, making 7 of 16 3-point attempts. Lavine had 12 first-half points for Chicago, which lost its fifth consecutive game.
The Bulls were without their top three scorers -- forwards Nikola Mirotic and Lauri Markannen (family reasons) and point guard Kris Dunn (concussion and illness). Mirotic reportedly is shut down while the team explores a potential trade.
The Bulls got as close as 88-68 late in the third quarter. McCollum had 50 points as Portland carried a 102-75 lead into the fourth quarter.
Chicago got no closer than 16 points the rest of the way.
Portland sank nine of its first 11 shots en route to a 23-2 lead in the first 5 1/2 minutes as the Bulls started 1 of 11. It was 38-11 after McCollum knocked down his fourth straight 3-pointer and 43-19 after one quarter. The Blazers knocked down 17 of 23 shots in the quarter, including 5 of 8 from 3-point range.
McCollum made 11 of his first 12 shots and finished 11 of 14 from the field, 4 of 5 from 3-point range and 3 of 3 from the free-throw line in the opening quarter.
--Field Level Media