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Bulls vs. Blazers final score: Jimmy Butler and defense carries Chicago past Portland

Butler's 22 led all scorers.

Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

The Bulls had lost seven consecutive games in Portland entering Tuesday night, with their last victory coming during the season they accidentally tanked for Derrick Rose. That streak is now over. Five Bulls scored in double figures as Chicago outlasted the Trail Blazers 93-88 in a game that got too close for comfort at the end.

Portland tied the game with five minutes left behind some crafty shotmaking from guard C.J. McCollum, but Jimmy Butler's clutch free throwing shooting and a nice late stop by Joakim Noah kept the win intact. The Bulls are now 9-4, and 75% of the way through the Circus Trip with a 2-1 record to show for it thus far.

This was Derrick Rose's return to the lineup, and he played the type of uneven game we've come to expect. Rose found a nice rhythm with his midrange bank shot, but struggled at the rim and couldn't really get the offense into a consistent flow. He finished the game with 17 points on 7-of-20 shooting with six assists and four rebounds. Not the most efficient performance, but I thought his defense on Damian Lillard was encouraging (Lillard finished with 19 points on 4-of-22 shooting) and his speed is always good for a few easy buckets over the course of any given night. He also did a good job taking care of the ball.

Once again, Jimmy Butler was a monster. He led the Bulls with 22 points on 6-of-13 shooting, aided by 8-for-8 shooting from the foul line. He hit a halfcourt shot at the halftime buzzer and got into it with Mason Plumlee in the fourth. Don't mess with the Tomball cowboy:

Some observations in bullet point form:

  • Rose got some run with the second unit (Noah-Taj-Doug-Kirk) in the second and fourth and that seemed to get him going offensively. It could be a nice way of urging him to be more aggressive.
  • Snell came into this game as a 43 percent three-point shooter, but was brutal today. He finished 1-for-6 from the field and 1-of-5 from three-point range, which included some wide open bricks.
  • Doug McDermott's defense tonight: potentially passable?
  • I'm losing it with Pau. It's nothing new: he's so slow, he doesn't box out, he eats so many possessions that could be redistributed elsewhere. He ended the night with 12 points on 5-of-15 shooting.
  • Taj and Noah each played with great energy. The combined for 17 points and 13 rebounds in 27 minutes.
  • Kirk Hinrich played crunch-time minutes, and I couldn't even complain about it on Twitter because Snell was so bad and Doug was whatever. He finished with three points in 27 minutes, played some solid defense on Portland's guards and didn't hurt the team too much. We'll take it.
Let's end with some tweets:

I gotta:

Circus Trip wraps up in Indiana on Friday. Paul George will have his fire emojis ready.