Blazers' Lillard accuses Bulls' Dunleavy of 'cheap' flagrant
PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Blazers were unwilling to forgive and forget a flagrant foul committed by Mike Dunleavy on Damian Lillard during Portland's 105-87 blowout victory at the Moda Center on Friday.
With a little under nine minutes remaining in the third quarter and Portland leading 63-45, Dunleavy delivered a high foul with both arms to Lillard's upper body as the All-Star guard attempted a three-pointer. The blow, which knocked Lillard to the floor, occurred after the Bulls conceded four consecutive offensive rebounds during the Blazers' offensive possession. Blazers guard Wesley Matthews responded by shoving Dunleavy in the chest, setting off a minor brouhaha that also involved Bulls guard Aaron Brooks.
"It was cheap," Lillard said, who has yet to miss a game during his three-year career. "I've had worse things happen, but that was the last thing I was expecting on a wide open three-point shot. It was a cheap play. I don't know what else to say about it."
Dunleavy was assessed a flagrant foul 1 -- a designation that applies to contact that is deemed "unnecessary" -- but was not ejected for the foul.
"Obviously it was unnecessary," Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. "I don't know what Mike was thinking. To take out a shooter like that in a defenseless position, I thought it was uncalled for."
The Chicago Tribune reported that Dunleavy said he was attempting to commit an intentional foul because Bulls center Joakim Noah had fallen to the court in the rebounding scrum and he "felt bad" about the play.
"I just kind of went through [Lillard's] body, didn't want him to make a [three-pointer]," he explained. "[He's a] nice kid. I [have] nothing against him. It was totally unintentional in terms of trying to hurt him or injury somebody."
Both Matthews and Brooks were given technical fouls for their roles in the aftermath.
"If somebody takes somebody out, it's only right that you come to their defense," Matthews said. "My team was right behind me afterwards."
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau had a more subdued reaction to the exchange.
"It's just part of the game, a lot of frustration," he said. "I think we gave them four offensive rebounds on that play. That's part of the game."
It was a frustrating night for Chicago all around, as the Bulls were without Derrick Rose, Pau Gasol and Kirk Hinrich due to injuries. Taj Gibson also exited the game early after spraining his left ankle and he wearing a boot and on crutches afterwards.
Lillard finished with a team-high 21 points (on 7-for-9 shooting), nine assists and six rebounds in a game that was all but decided prior to the beginning of the fourth quarter. LaMarcus Aldridge added 16 points (on 6-for-13 shooting) and nine rebounds.
Nikola Mirotic tallied a team-high 24 points (on 7-for-14 shooting) and 11 rebounds off the bench. Brooks added 12 points (on 4-for-12 shooting) and three assists in the loss.
Portland improved to 9-3. Chicago dropped to 8-5.