POSTGAME REPORT: CLIPPERS 101, BULLS 80 - 11/17/12
LOS ANGELES – Two days before embarking on their first multi-game road trip of the season, the Clippers departed Staples Center with a dominating, 101-80, victory over the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night.
“This is one of those nights,” Clippers Head Coach Vinny Del Negro said. “I have a lot of respect for Chicago. Their team is different, Derrick [Rose] is not there, he’s an MVP player so I thought we did a good job tonight in a lot of ways. It’s a good solid win for us against a very good team. You have to play hard. We knew we had to do that and our guys came out and responded well.”
The Clippers (7-2) have won five games in a row and scored at least 100 points in six of their seven home games and came into the game as the top scoring team in the Western Conference, averaging 102.8 points a game.
Jamal Crawford scored 22 points in 27 minutes off the bench; his brilliant shot-making ability on full display, making a one-footed off balance 3-pointer in the second quarter and banking in a fall-away triple in the third. He is currently ranked tenth in the NBA in scoring.
“I’m all the way locked in,” Crawford said. “I think it goes back to the summer. It doesn’t feel like I’m hot or anything.”
The Bulls (5-4) entered the game as one of the top-five defenses in the league, surrendering 92.4 points per game, but the Clippers shot 49.3% from the field en route to their 101 points. Much of that success was due to a defense that allowed the Clippers to get out on the fast break, where they rank first in the league with 19.0 points per game on the break.
“We were able to get stops,” Crawford said. “When you get stops you can get out and run and get easy baskets. We have some of the best athletes in the league and that’s what we try to take advantage of.”
The Bulls struggled mightily from the field, hitting just 33.7% of their shots, including a 2-for-14 night from beyond the arc. It was the first time the team has lost by more than 20 since Dec. 1, 2010 against the Magic.
The 21-point victory was the Clippers sixth win by double figures, their second by more than 20.
Eric Bledsoe came in late in the first quarter and helped spark a Clippers offense that was struggling to that point, shooting just 42% in the period. He put back his own miss with seven seconds left in the quarter to give the Clippers an 18-15 advantage and then wreaked havoc on the defensive end in the second quarter. The third-year guard had two crucial steals in the period that led to easy baskets. He poked the ball out of the hands of Luol Deng and then found Matt Barnes on the fast break for a dunk with 10:43 left in the quarter. He then ripped the ball out of Joakim Noah’s hands a few minutes later leading to two free throws on the other end.
The Clippers second unit started the second quarter and expanded a three-point lead into a 15-point advantage. Crawford then took over the period, making some incredible shots.
With 3:17 left in the half, Crawford lost and then regained the handle with the shot clock winding down and hit a one-footed, off-balance 3-pointer to give the Clippers a 43-29 lead. The Clippers bench would account for 35 of the team’s 53 points in the first half.
Blake Griffin recorded his fourth double-double of the season, scoring 26 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. He also had two assists and two steals. He shot 11-for-18 from the field and put on a jump-shooting display in the fourth quarter with Vladimir Radmonovic attempting to guard him.
Chris Paul took a backseat in the scoring department but continued to be an excellent distributor of the basketball with 10 assists. He was also a handful on the defensive end, leading the team with three steals.
DeAndre Jordan was quiet offensively with only five points on 2-of-5 shooting, but he made up for it on the defensive end with seven blocked shots. It was the most blocked shots for Jordan since opening night last season against the Golden State Warriors when he had eight.
Matt Barnes was one of three reserves to score in double figures, dropping 13 points on 5-of-9 from the field, including 1-for-2 from 3-point land.
Carlos Boozer was one of only two players for the Bulls who shot better than 50% on the night, going 10-of-19 for 22 points. He also grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds.
Hot: Barnes’ second quarter: Barnes was 4-of-5 from the field and made his only 3-point attempt in the frame. He scored 11 of his 13 points in the second and also had a steal.
Not: The Bulls First Half Shooting: As a team, the Bulls shot just 36.4% and made just one of their six 3-point shots in the first half. Joakim Noah went 0-for-5 while Taj Gibson and Nate Robinson each made one of their four shot attempts. The Bulls did not get over 30 points until the 2:34 mark of the second quarter.
Crawford: "It’s a good test for us. It’s four tough teams and we have to take it one game at a time. We just saw San Antonio about a week ago so we know what to expect. I think they’re missing [Kawhi] Leonard for a couple of weeks and he’s a big part of what they do. We just have to bond with each other on the road and see what happens.”
Paul: It’s a big road trip for us. It starts in San Antonio, which is a tough place to play. I think we are as ready as we can be. We couldn’t ask for more out of ourselves.
Jordan: "I was just doing my job. I was trying to be there as early as possible and just make a play on the ball.”
Gibson: "At times it felt like they speeded us up a little bit. Instead of playing our game, we kind of rushed it. We had some terrible turnovers that really hurt us. We’ve got to learn from it. That’s a good team out there.”
Notes: Derrick Rose (left knee) did not play for the Bulls… Del Negro served as the head coach of the Chicago Bulls from 2008-10. He compiled an 82-82 (.500) record and a 4-8 playoff record. He is 2-2 against Chicago since taking over in L.A… Radmanovic scored two points in 10 minutes. He played in 30 games for the Clippers in 2005-06, averaging 10.7 points and 5.7 rebounds.