National Basketball Association
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              === Portland hopes to keep blazing versus Bulls ===
 (  -  The  Portland  Trail  Blazers will  try  for  a  ninth
 consecutive  victory on Friday night when they return home to host the Chicago
 The  Blazers haven't  lost since Nov. 5  when they fell at home to the Houston
 Rockets.  Three victories  during this winning streak came at Moda Center, but
 Portland just completed a 4-0 road trip east.
 Their eight-game winning streak is their longest since a 13-game run from Dec.
 3-30,  2007. Portland is off to its best start since winning 13 of 15 to begin
 the 1999-2000 season.
 The  eighth consecutive  victory came  in Milwaukee  when the  Blazers shot  a
 season-worst  40.7 percent  from  the field,  but won,  91-82.  The 82  points
 allowed was the fewest surrendered by the Blazers this season.
 "To  finish  a road trip undefeated  and to do  it with the defense and energy
 that we had in the second half is great," head coach Terry Stotts said. "There
 is  no question  that it was a solid  win. I believe it's the fifth game where
 we've won a game shooting under (45) percent, and I think that is something we
 take pride in as well."
 LaMarcus  Aldridge  paced Portland with 21  points, followed by 19 from Damian
 Lillard and 15 from Wesley Matthews.
 The  Bulls began their annual Circus Trip with a 97-87 loss in Denver Thursday
 night.  Chicago is away  from home for four more games after Friday's visit to
 Rose City.
 It  was a  former Bull, Nate Robinson,  who hurt his old mates on Thursday. He
 buried  a pair of 3-pointers to start the fourth quarter that put the game out
 of reach.
 "We  got caught  by some dribble penetration," said Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau.
 "We  lost Nate a  couple of times and that gave them a cushion and it got away
 from  us.  You can't let  your guard down against  them. I thought their bench
 hurt us."
 Thibodeau was right.
 The  Nuggets'  second unit  outscored  the  Bulls' reserves,  49-21.  Robinson
 finished  with  11 points and  Jordan Hamilton led the  way for Denver with 17
 points off the bench. No Bull scored double-figures off the bench.
 With  Jimmy Butler sidelined with turf-toe, Mike Dunleavy started in his place
 and  did admirably with 15 points. It hurt Chicago's depth, but all five Bulls
 starters scored in double digits, led by 19 from Derrick Rose.
 Carlos Boozer had 15 points and 10 rebounds. Joakim Noah scored 11 and grabbed
 12  boards and  Luol Deng  only managed  six points,  but had  a game-high  13
 The  Blazers swept  both  of  last season's  meetings  with  Chicago and  have
 captured  four straight  in  the series.  Chicago has  lost  five straight  in
 Portland and six of its last seven.
 11/22 10:37:02 ET