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 Bulls.

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 rebounds.

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.