L.A. Clippers 97, Chicago 91

CHICAGO, Nov. 6 (AP) -- Cuttino Mobley showed Kirk Hinrich and the Chicago Bulls that he's ready to play physical again.

Mobley scored 33 points and Corey Maggette added 18 points, 10 rebounds and five assists to lead the Los Angeles Clippers to a 97-91 win over the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night.

"I told the referees the first game, I've told y'all, I'll tell everyone I'm going back to my first five years,'' said Mobley. "I'm just going back to my old aggressive self. I'm only 32.''

Mobley was 10-for-10 from the floor in the first half. He used his size advantage against Kirk Hinrich to create room for his jumper.

"It's tough,'' said Hinrich. "When I got off a good jump to challenge a shot I felt like I would make him miss, but a lot of times, down the stretch he would bang me and knock me back and I couldn't get the lift to challenge his shot the way I wanted to.''

The Clippers improved to 3-0 despite missing Elton Brand and Shaun Livingston with injuries. The Bulls are 0-4 to start the season for the first time since 2004-05.

"We need to stick with it as a team,'' said Luol Deng, who scored 22 points for Chicago. "We're not finishing game and I know the fans are disappointed, but we'll keep battling and get better. Coach (Scott) Skiles' message is to keep battling and get better.''

Trailing 89-85 with 4:08 left, Ben Wallace was called for goaltending on a shot by Mobley and Chris Kaman blocked Ben Gordon's layup attempt that led to Maggette's dunk to tie the game. Then Maggette followed with a 3-pointer to break the tie and gave the Clippers a 92-89 lead with 2:12 left.

Tim Thomas, waived by the Bulls two seasons ago, saved the ball after a Clippers miss which led to Mobley's jumper that gave the Clippers 94-89 lead with 1:20 left. Thomas finished with nine points and nine rebounds.

Kaman had 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Clippers.

Joe Smith scored 17 for the Bulls, who fought back from a 13-point deficit and tied it late in the third quarter on Gordon's free throw after Mobley was issued a technical for arguing a no-call.

The Bulls held the Clippers to 27.3 percent shooting in the period after Los Angeles shot 60 percent in the second quarter. They also denied Mobley the ball and held him to two points on 0-for-3 shooting from the floor.

The Clippers broke a 31-all tie in the second quarter with a 13-0 run. Mobley scored eight points during the span. He hit a 3 to break the tie and hit another 3 over Kirk Hinrich to make it 42-31. Ruben Patterson's putback gave the Clippers a 44-31 advantage with 7:33 left in the second quarter.

"We couldn't stop him (Mobley) tonight. He had one of those nights where he made everything,'' said Deng.

The Clippers shot 59.5 percent in the half and converted 7-of-11 3-point attempts and led 57-52.

The frustration continues for the Bulls, who came into the season with high expectations. Ben Wallace missed an open layup in transition in the second quarter that led to Sam Cassell's jumper.

Bulls general manager John Paxson put to rest the Kobe Bryant trade rumors less than a week ago, but some fans continue to chant "Kobe! Kobe! Kobe!'' in the final minutes.

Notes: Bulls rookie forward Joakim Noah made his regular season debut off the bench in the first quarter after missing the first three games with a sprained ankle. He finished with two points and four rebounds.


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