"That was an impressive half of basketball we played at both ends of the floor," Portland coach Terry Stotts said. "Defensively, we picked it up in the third quarter. I wish we'd played like that at the beginning of the game, but it's good to know we have that in us. We can point to that as what we need to do more often."
Guard Wesley Matthews scored a season-high 28 points and center Robin Lopez collected 13 points and a career-high 16 rebounds for PORTLAND, which trailed the entire way until late in the third quarter. Guard Damian Lillard scored 14 of his 20 points in the second half.
"This kind of game is great for us," Matthews said. "We needed this game. We've won every kind of way. we've played almost every style of team now, playing Chicago, which is just a bully team. (The Bulls) played hard and they played physical. That's how they get stuff done."
It was a lost night all around for Chicago (6-5). Point guard Derrick Rose, who scored a team-high 20 points, left the game late in the third quarter after injuring his right knee. Rose will undergo an MRI on Saturday.
Chicago got the jump on PORTLAND, outrebounding the Blazers 17-5 en route to a 32-22 advantage after one quarter. The Bulls extended the margin to 48-27 midway through the quarter before settling for a 15-point lead at intermission.
At that point, Lopez said, "We didn't want to be embarrassed on our home floor. We didn't want to cheat our home crowd to a letdown. We didn't want to cheat ourselves to a letdown. We knew it was do-or-die time in that period."
The Blazers stormed back, drawing to 68-66 with four minutes left the third quarter. When guard Mo Williams buried a 3-pointer moments later, PORTLAND had its first lead at 71-70. Williams followed with another trey to make it 74-70 and the Blazers' advantage was 78-71 entering the fourth quarter.
Chicago regrouped and tied the score at 83 on two Kirk Hinrich free throws with 7:40 left. Deng's rebound basket gave the Bulls the lead back at 87-85 with 4:39 to play. They stayed in front until Matthews sank a shot with 1:37 remaining to put the Blazers on top 96-95.
"Teams are playing harder than us," said Chicago center Joakim Noah, who had seven points and only two rebounds in 27 minutes. "When teams make a run, we're all over the place. We're not disciplined. Everybody is frustrated. Everybody is screaming at the refs instead of just focusing on the next task at hand."
NOTES: Chicago's 12 points in the third quarter were its lowest for any quarter this season. ... PORTLAND has won five in a row and has prevailed in 10 of its last 12 meetings with Chicago. ... PORTLAND had a season-high 11 steals. ... Lopez tied his career high with eight offensive boards. … Chicago was playing the second of back-to-back games after a 97-87 loss at Denver on Thursday night. ... Chicago G Jimmy Butler sat out his second straight game with an injured big right toe. ... PORTLAND had six fast-break points, Chicago none. It's the first time the Blazers have not given up a fast-break point since Dec. 9, 2010, against Orlando. ... The Blazers entered the game with the NBA's third-best record, coming off their first 4-0 road trip since January 2003. "The most important thing is that we're playing well and continuing to improve," Portland coach Terry Stotts said. "If you're doing that, the wins will take care of themselves. We still need to get better. It's early in the season, but we've taken care of the business we needed to take care of." ... Chicago came into the game ranked fourth and PORTLAND sixth in the NBA in rebound percentage. ... PORTLAND entered the night ranked No. 1 in opponents' 3-point percentage (.291) and last in opponents' turnovers (12.8 per game). "You're not going to be able to take everything away, otherwise you're the Indiana Pacers," Stotts said. "I'd like to be able to force a few more turnovers, but I want us to be solid, not gamble. We don't want to give up something easy."