CHICAGO - Luol Deng might lead the NBA in scoring if the Bulls played the Trail Blazers more often.
Deng scored a career-high 40 points to lead the Chicago Bulls to a 110-98 victory over Portland on Monday night. Deng’s previous career best of 38 points, on March 26, 2007, also came against the Trail Blazers.
“I think it’s just a coincidence,” said Deng. “We just shot the ball well. We moved it and shot it well. You’re going to get shots in different places (in our offense), so you’ve go to be ready.”
Deng scored 16 points in the first and third quarters and shot 14-for-19 from the floor in the game. He passed his previous career high a 3-pointer from the corner with 5 minutes, 48 seconds to play. The shot put the Bulls up, 101-84.
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“During the first two games, (Deng) didn’t shoot the ball well, but I thought he played well,” Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau said. “He’s moving without the ball, he’s cutting hard, he’s making the extra pass and he’s playing really good defense. Tonight, he was terrific offensively. His body was in (constant) motion and he got out and ran the floor well.”
Derrick Rose, who entered the game as the NBA’s leading scorer, added 16 points and 13 assists for Chicago (2-1). The assist total matched his previous career high set against Utah in March.
The Trail Blazers entered the game 3-0, with all three of their wins coming as a result of fourth quarter comebacks. Portland outscored opponents 85-49 in the final quarters of the three games, but were unable to mount a sustained rally against the Bulls.