GAMEDAY REPORT: CLIPPERS VS. BULLS - 1/24/14
Game #45 | January 24, 2014
United Center | Chicago, IL
CHICAGO – The way the Clippers scored the ball for most of their only trip to United Center Friday night they might have been able to thaw out the frozen streets outside.
They made a franchise-record seven 3-pointers in the opening quarter, had four players score at least 17 points and swept the season series against the Bulls with a 112-95 runaway victory.
“We made everything tonight in the first half,” Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said. “It was the fact that the right guy was taking the shots. That opened it up for Blake [Griffin]. Tonight our passing was great.”
The Clippers (30-15) made 10 of their first 11 3-pointers and finished 13-of-21 (61.9 percent). It was quite a turnaround offensively from two nights earlier in Charlotte when rarely anything came easy in a four-point loss. Against the Bulls (21-21), one of the league’s stingiest defenses, the difference was how the ball moved.
“In the Charlotte game the ball was stuck a lot on one side of the floor,” Rivers said. “We passed up average shots and got great ones tonight.”
Griffin, who was announced as a Western Conference All-Star starter on Thursday, was the focal point of the offense. He scored a game-high 26 points, had 13 rebounds and handed out seven assists, including six that led to 3-point makes. In all, Griffin accounted for 41 percent of the Clippers’ offense.
“He understands what defenses are trying to do to him more,” Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said of Griffin. “They do a good job of moving him around and they play off of him well.”
Griffin was one of six Clippers in double figures. Darren Collison had 17 points, Matt Barnes had 13, Jamal Crawford had 19 points and three assists and J.J. Redick added 18 and five assists.
DeAndre Jordan, who tallied his 21st double-double of the season, added 10 points, 12 rebounds and a blocked shot, becoming the first player in the last 28 years to secure at least 10 boards and have one block or more in 22 consecutive games, a record previously held by Hakeem Olajuwon.
“We relied on our system,” Griffin said. “Everybody was moving the ball, everybody was hitting the open man.”
Said Redick, “It was a much better offensive night for us. We knew coming in that we’d have to move the ball and get to our second and third options and right from the get-go we did that.”
The first half was a shooting barrage of historic proportions. The Clippers established a new franchise record with seven 3-pointers in the first period. Redick had four of them on his way to a 16-point half and Matt Barnes added three more.
They got shots from the corners, from the wings, in transition, following offensive rebounds and with beautiful half-court execution. Redick converted from the left wing on the Clippers’ opening possession after four players touched the ball. It was indicative of the way nearly everything the Clippers did offensively in the opening 24 minutes worked. Four players scored in double figures, seven made at least two field goals. It was as though the basket looked like a Lake Michigan-sized hole with a net dangling from it.
They led 41-26 after the first quarter.
“That was pretty much the story of the game,” Thibodeau said. “We gave up 41 points. We gave up threes. They had a 15-point lead and we were chasing our tail the rest of the game. We gave up 13 threes and didn’t cover the line. You can’t win like that.”
However, the Bulls scuffled back in the game, closing to within eight points of the lead in the third quarter. But Collison took the game over for a brief spell, connecting on 10 consecutive points, and sucking the life out of an arena that had become enlivened by a D.J. Augustin 3-pointer that made it 78-70.
“I was just taking what the defense gives me,” Collison said. “My teammates were knocking down shots all game long and I decided to take it on my own and be a little bit more aggressive.”
Collison’s third quarter was rather indicative of the Clippers’ offensive balance. When the Bulls took away the 3-pointer in the second half, the Clippers hit them inside or hurt them in the mid-range game.
“We do a good job of adjusting to the other team’s defense,” Collison added. “We’ve got a lot of good shooters on this team, but we understand that the shot’s not always going to be there. Sometimes you’ve got to take it to the basket. You’ve just got to read the defense and I thought we did a good job of that tonight.”
The Clippers are 3-2 on their seven-game Grammy road trip and 8-3 this season without Chris Paul in the lineup… Willie Green made his first appearance since Jan. 10 and scored four points, making his first two shots in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter… Hedo Turkoglu had five points and three rebounds in 10:54 off the bench… The Bulls had a 20-10 advantage on the offensive glass and outscored the Clippers 24-11 in second chance points… Chicago shot just 43 percent from the field… Carlos Boozer scored 16 of his team-high 22 points in the first quarter… The Clippers have won four in a row against the Bulls…
Clippers head coach Doc Rivers
On their six guys in double figures:
“It was our ball movement. That was terrific tonight. We talked about that after the Charlotte game where the ball never got to the other side of the floor. We also made our shots tonight. In fact, we made everything tonight in the first half. It was also the fact that the right guy was taking the shots. That opened it up for Blake. Tonight our passing was great.”
On their hot first quarter:
“We’ve talked about getting off to bad starts. Tonight we just had the great offensive quarter. We’ve stressed defense, but tonight it wasn’t our defense that got us off to that start. Our theme going into the game was to make their shooters put it on the floor.”
On Darren Collison and Willie Green:
“Scoring on those five straight possessions got us going. It was also great to see Willie Green. He didn’t play for a month or so and hit some big shots. Everybody stepped up for us big today.”
On Blake Griffin’s play:
“When Chris went out we looked to Blake for leadership. When he wants the ball he doesn’t always want it to shoot. When we call his number he doesn’t feel as if that means it’s his shot but a team play set for him. When we hit 3 points shots like tonight it stretches the defense. When we can make them spread the floor it gives Blake space and that’s the big difference.”
Clippers guard Jamal Crawford
On their 3-point shooting:
“It showed how we can be really good. We had the same looks against Charlotte, we just hit them tonight. Also, our defense was there for us. The Bulls defense is one of the better in the league. We understand we have to work the ball side to side and need to rely on each other.”
On Blake’s play:
“Blake doesn’t back away from any challenge. He is working all the time. After the Detroit game he was the first one back into the weight room. He is having a great year. He and LaMarcus Aldridge are playing at a higher level for power forwards and are playing at a higher level than anyone else.”
Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau
On the first quarter:
“That was really pretty much the story of the game. We gave up 41 points, we gave up the threes. They had a 15 point lead and we were chasing our tail the rest of the game. We gave up 13 threes, we didn’t cover the line. You can’t win like that. We can’t lose sight of how hard we have to play to win. When we cut it to 10, they would go on another run. We made it real hard on ourselves because we gave them confidence to start the game. They pretty much had their way. Their intensity was high, they were into us defensively. Offensively I thought we were good enough, but defensively I thought we were real poor.”
On what happened today after a string of decent defensive games:
“There was no aspect of our defense that was up to our standards, in terms of pressure and technique. We did not remain disciplined. They share the ball and they are going to make you pay for mistakes so you have to maintain discipline against them. We’re capable of playing a lot better than we did.”
On Blake Griffin’s passing:
“We did not cover the way we should have. The whole defense was not very good. Transition was not very good, our three point defense was not very good. I don’t think any aspect of our defense was very good.”
On Jimmy Butler’s play recently:
“He just has to keep grinding away. He helps his team in a lot of different ways. He helps with defense and running the floor, passing and his will. He’s at a point where Joakim [Noah] was early in the year. It is hard to be in rhythm with the injuries he’s had. He has missed a lot of time and he is playing catch-up. He’s got to keep going. Jimmy is a good player.”
Bulls forward Mike Dunleavy
On the first quarter:
“We didn’t come out with the right mindset defensively or the right aggressiveness. We gave them a lot of threes. We gave up 41 points in the first quarter. We got off to a bad start there and we were playing catch-up the rest of the game.”
On the 3-pointers they allowed:
“A lot of it was on transition and scramble plays. I don’t think we recognized how good they are in transition. Their big guys getting out, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, causing havoc low and then they kick it out for threes. They’re a good team. They made the plays, give them credit. But, we’re disappointed in the way we started the game.”
On the Clippers:
“They are a team that is unique and is different than any other team we play. You have to be ready for the force that they bring. We were back on our heels from the get go and that was the difference. They put so much pressure on you down low and you have guys like Redick, Barnes and Dudley shooting threes. It’s a little bit of ‘pick your poison’, we just didn’t do a good enough job tonight of handling it.”
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By: Ben Haber | Follow @HaberBen
The East coast part of the Grammy Road trip resulted in the Clippers going 2-2. Now Doc Rivers, Blake Griffin and Co. slowly inch back to sunny Southern California, as they arrive to the Midwest to face the Chicago Bulls Friday. The Clippers (29-15) came up slightly short in their previous outing against the Charlotte Bobcats, falling 95-91. The Chicago Bulls (21-20) come into the contest on a three game win streak. The Clippers and Bulls both faced adversity in the recent weeks and both overcame the challenges. Los Angeles is 7-3 without Chris Paul and Chicago is 7-2 since trading Luol Deng to Clevleand.
DEANDRE JORDAN VS. JOAKIM NOAH
- Jordan continues to solidify himself as the NBA’s leading rebounder, notching 10-plus in 21 straight games. The accomplishment places Jordan second in team history, tied with Marcus Camby. He trails only Griffin at 27. Jordan has also logged six double-doubles in the last seven games. The Clippers were 6-1 during that stretch. Against the Bulls Jordan can become the first Clippers player since Michael Cage in 1988 to register 20 or more rebounds in three games in a row.
- J.J. Redick has scored 20 or more in five of his 23 games with the Clippers. In the past seven seasons, Redick did so just 30 other times. However, he has never scored 20-plus points against the Bulls.
- The development and strides from Griffin’s mid-range game deserves recognition. Griffin has gone 38.2% on attempts from 16-feet or longer, compared to 36.2% in 2012-13. The 2014 All-Star starter may need to be efficient from distance against a Bulls team that has allowed just 36.8 points per game in the paint this season (second fewest in the NBA).
- Injuries to Derrick Rose and Kirk Hinrich moved D.J. Augustin into the starting lineup and he is capitalizing on the opportunity. Over the Bulls previous five games, Augustin is averaging 21.6 points. Augustin put up 27 points in each of his last two showings.
- Like most Tom Thibodeau coached teams, this year’s Bulls are stingy on defense. Chicago is surrendering 92.5 points per game, placing second in the NBA. They will be tested against a Clippers offense that is fifth in the NBA in scoring (105.4).
- If the scoreboard lights up often, it clearly favors the Clippers. The Bulls have eclipsed the 105-point plateau three times, while the Clippers average 105.4. Chicago is 7-2 when scoring 100 points or more, including a 6-1 record at United Center.
Griffin, Jordan and Noah all rank inside the top 15 in rebounds per game… The Clippers dominated the Bulls 121-82 in their sole meeting of the season on Nov. 24, 2013. It was the largest margin of victory in Clippers’ franchise history…. The Clippers have won three straight times at the United Center… Griffin is averaging the sixth most points in the league in the last 20 games… Griffin, Paul and Rose were named to the preliminary pool of players for Team USA…
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
LAC: Chris Paul (shoulder) remains out.
CHI: Carlos Boozer (calf) will be a game time decision. According to ESPN.com’s Nick Friedell, Hinrich (hamstring) is unlikely to suit up and should miss “at least a few games.”
LAST TIME OUT