Chicago Bulls

McCollum scores 50 as Blazers beat slumping Bulls

Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic, left, shoots in front of Chicago Bulls forward Bobby Portis during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)
Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic, left, shoots in front of Chicago Bulls forward Bobby Portis during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)

PORTLAND, Ore. – CJ McCollum scored a franchise-record 28 points in the first quarter and finished with a career-high 50 points through the third before heading to the bench, and the Portland Trail Blazers took advantage of the short-handed Bulls for a 124-108 victory Wednesday night.

McCollum’s 28 points in the opening quarter were the most in the NBA this season. His final tally was nine points shy of the team record set by Damian Lillard last season.

Lillard also sat out the final period after adding 13 points and seven assists for the Blazers, who led by as many as 29. It was Portland’s fourth straight win overall, a season high, and the club’s eighth in a row at home.

Zach LaVine had a season-best 23 points in the Bulls’ fifth consecutive loss.

Lauri Markkanen was not with the Bulls because he was attending to a personal issue, the team said. The rookie is averaging 15.3 points and 7.7 rebounds a game. Paul Zipser started in his place.

Kris Dunn, averaging 13.7 points and 6.4 assists, missed his sixth straight game after a concussion.

The Bulls decided to sit forward Nikola Mirotic while he reportedly seeks a trade. Coach Fred Hoiberg said before the game that the 6-foot-10 forward remained back at the team hotel. Meanwhile, rumors swirled that the Bulls had a deal in place with the Pelicans, but it fell apart.

Portland shot 74 percent in the first quarter paced by McCollum, who made four 3-pointers and finished with six for the game.

Pat Connaughton’s 3-pointer put the Blazers up, 54-28. McCollum punctuated the first half with a dunk, and the Blazers went into the break with a 67-44 lead.

McCollum finished the half with 32 points, one shy of Lillard’s franchise record.

After he sat down in the third quarter, McCollum smiled when the crowd at the Moda Center chanted “We want CJ!”

Lillard went into the game needing 25 points to reach 10,000. He’ll be the seventh Blazers player to reach the mark, joining Clyde Drexler, LaMarcus Aldridge, Terry Porter, Cliff Robinson, Jerome Kersey and Jim Paxson.

Portland was coming off a 104-96 victory over the Clippers at Staples Center the night before.

The Bulls lost, 110-96, at home to Milwaukee on Sunday.

TIP-INS

Bulls: Markkanen could rejoin the team on the road trip. ... Robin Lopez was greeted by warm applause at the Moda Center. Lopez was a fan favorite during his time with the Blazers from 2013-15.

Trail Blazers: Wore their black “City” uniforms for the first time. The uniforms feature a plaid pattern in a nod to Dr. Jack Ramsay, who coached the 1977 NBA championship team and had a penchant for plaid. ... McCollum’s huge quarter surpassed the previous team record of 26 points set by Lillard.

ELITE COMPANY

McCollum joined a group of 50-point Blazers: Lillard, Damon Stoudamire, Brandon Roy, Andre Miller, Clyde Drexler and Geoff Petrie.

McCollum also joined Houston star James Harden as the only players with 50 points in three quarters this season.

UP NEXT

The Bulls play Saturday night at the Los Angeles Clippers before finishing their three-game road trip at Sacramento.

The Trail Blazers visit Toronto on Friday.

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More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball

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