CHICAGO -- After a tumultuous couple of days that featured a 42-point loss and a shakeup of the Trail Blazers, LaMarcus Aldridge gave his new head coach a well-deserved hug after beating the best team in the league.
One day after trading starters Gerald Wallace and Marcus Camby then firing head coach Nate McMillan on Thursday, the Blazers hung with the Bulls through three quarters then pulled away in the fourth quarter.
"I just told Matt [Matthews] that this was the most fun I've ever had in an NBA game," Aldridge said.
Jamal Crawford hit a buzzer-beating 3 to get the Blazers within 79-78 at the end of the third quarter. Then Crawford tied the game on a free throw after a technical foul.
Matthews extended the lead with a 3 to make it 84-79. Aldridge had back-to-baskets and Matthews made a 3 to put the Blazers up 96-87 with 3:01 left.
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Kaleb Canales, who took over on an interim basis for McMillan won in his debut. He is the youngest coach in the NBA at age 34.
"Whenever you can see a young guy get an opportunity to be a head coach, you definitely want to go out there and get a win for him," said Kurt Thomas, who is five years older than Canales.
The Bulls were able to get an emotional victory against the Heat without Derrick Rose on Wednesday, but they were unable to win a second straight game with the reigning MVP sitting on the bench with a strained groin.
Joakim Noah, who scored 12 points with nine rebounds said there was no letdown.
"There is no such thing. We lost against the worst and we beat the best. It is what it is. It hurts right now, but we have another tough one [Philadelphia] tomorrow so just got to come ready," Noah said.
The Bulls shot 3 for 23 in the fourth quarter and were outscored 22-10.
"Our defense has been lacking for a while now. We need as a team to hold everyone accountable, defensively," Noah said.
Portland bounced back after a 42-point loss to the Knicks on Wednesday.
"Just a special time for us as a team, as an organization, as a family. All the credit goes to the guys in that locker room for helping to get it," Canales said. "Obviously a special win with everything that's been going on. I've very blessed and fortunate to get this great opportunity, very humbling."
Rose has missed 12 games this season.
Late in the fourth quarter, Boozer and Joel Przybilla were issued techincals after going for a loose ball.
The Bulls led 53-50 at the half.
|LaMarcus Aldridge scores 21 points as the Trail Blazers win their first game since the dismissal of their head coach. (Getty Images)|
|Portland (21-23) «||29||21||28||22||100|
|POR:L. Aldridge 21 Pts
POR:N. Batum 9 Reb
POR:R. Felton 5 Ast
|CHI:C. Boozer 22 Pts
CHI:C. Boozer 14 Reb
CHI:J. Noah 5 Ast
|Players of the Game|
|L. Aldridge, PF||38||9-18||3-3||5||2||3||21|
|N. Batum, SF||33||6-11||0-0||9||3||1||15|
|W. Matthews, SG||33||6-11||2-3||2||1||2||18|
|R. Felton, PG||30||6-11||3-3||1||5||1||16|
|J. Przybilla, C||25||1-4||0-0||4||0||3||2|
|J. Crawford, SG||24||3-12||1-1||3||2||1||8|
|N. Smith, PG||18||5-7||0-0||3||1||0||12|
|K. Thomas, PF||16||0-0||0-0||2||1||2||0|
|L. Babbitt, SF||12||1-3||0-0||4||1||2||2|
|C. Smith, PF||10||2-2||2-2||2||1||0||6|
|M. Camby, C||Did Not Play|
|G. Wallace, SF||Did Not Play|
|G. Oden, C||Did Not Play|
|E. Williams, SG||Did Not Play|
|C. Johnson, PF||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|
|L. Deng, SF||40||7-18||4-5||2||1||1||19|
|J. Noah, C||39||6-12||0-0||9||5||4||12|
|C. Boozer, PF||30||9-14||4-4||14||4||1||22|
|C. Watson, PG||29||4-12||0-0||3||3||1||10|
|R. Brewer, SG||25||1-2||0-0||1||0||1||3|
|J. Lucas, PG||22||3-11||0-0||3||4||2||8|
|K. Korver, SG||19||1-5||0-0||1||2||3||3|
|J. Butler, SF||15||1-2||0-0||2||0||1||3|
|T. Gibson, PF||14||3-7||1-2||5||2||1||7|
|O. Asik, C||9||1-2||0-0||5||0||0||2|
|R. Hamilton, SG||Did Not Play|
|B. Scalabrine, C||Did Not Play|
|M. James, PG||Did Not Play|
|D. Rose, PG||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|