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Derrick Rose scores season-high 31 in Bulls’ win over Trail Blazers

For all of the injury-related missteps this fall, President Barack Obama is bullish on the Bulls.

And for all of his injury-related issues this fall, if Derrick Rose keeps up the kind of performance he delivered Friday, he’ll back up the First Fan’s analysis that the Bulls can handle LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers.

‘‘The Cavs are starting to jell,’’ Obama said in an ESPN radio interview. ‘‘But I just like [Tom] Thibodeau as a coach. The guy’s tough. They play hard. [Joakim] Noah’s a fighter. And even if Rose doesn’t come up to MVP levels, if he’s playing at an All-Star level, I think the Bulls can beat the Cavs this year.’’

Rose, who led the Bulls over the Portland Trail Blazers 115-106 at the United Center, is starting to play like — well, Rose.

After scoring 23 against the Brooklyn Nets, the 2011 MVP put in a season-high 31 points against the Trail Blazers. That’s the most he has scored in back-to-back games this season.

And it was highlighted by some clutch shots when the Trail Blazers were trying to rally down the stretch.

‘‘I always say that’s what a player like myself is supposed to do,’’ Rose said. ‘‘I put more pressure on myself than anybody else. I’m my hardest critic. As a player, you want to get to the highest potential you possibly can. You want those shots.’’

The win was the Bulls’ first in eight meetings with the Trail Blazers, who won the previous three at the United Center. The Bulls improved to 4-5 at home. It was their eighth straight game with 100 or more points, their longest triple-digit run since April 2009.

‘‘I think [Rose] is building,’’ Thibodeau said. ‘‘Derrick was very aggressive, as he was in the last game. He’s stringing games together. When he plays like that, the thrust he plays with gets us easy baskets.’’

Rose said he’s trying to be aggressive, the way Thibodeau wants. But it’s a process.

‘‘He tells me that,’’ Rose said. ‘‘But at the same time, I have to listen to my body, listen to myself, and just learn how to play with my teammates. That’s something I have to figure out. Every game, I’m getting more comfortable with it.’’

NOTES: Joakim Noah sat out for the second straight game with a sprained right ankle, which he first injured against the Dallas Mavericks on Dec. 2. He did not rule out returning when the Bulls play at Miami on Sunday.

‘‘It’s day-by-day,’’ Noah said. ‘‘If I could play, I could play. But right now, my ankle’s still bothering me. You have to be smart.’’

Doug McDermott, who has been out since Nov. 30 with trouble with his right knee, will undergo arthroscopic knee surgery Saturday. A timetable for his return has not been set.

◆ Saying, ‘‘He’s got my vote,’’ Tom Thibodeau accepted Obama’s endorsement for his coaching but not for the Bulls to beat the Cavs in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

‘‘I’m just worried about tonight,’’ Thibodeau said. ‘‘I don’t know if I’m tough. We just know he’s a big fan, and we certainly appreciate his support. It’s great for our team.’’