The Chicago Bulls (1-3) bested the Los Angeles Clippers (1-3) 77-74 in an contest that featured exciting dunks and athletic blocks that captured the crowd throughout at Thomas & Mack on the campus of UNLV. Jimmy Butler was the leading scorer for the Bulls with 23 points and Malcolm Thomas registered a double-double with 21 points and 16 rebounds.
The Bulls came into the game losers of their first three games in Las Vegas and searching for a win against the Clippers who struggled in a loss to the Lakers on Thursday.
Both squads traded baskets early. Clippers' center Marcus Hubbard came out firing, scoring eight first quarter points including two three-pointers. Hubbard finished the day with 15 points and five rebounds. For the Bulls, Thomas provided the response. He was coming off a 12-point, 16-rebound game yesterday versus Golden State and he was effective early on, scoring nine points in the first half.
Adam Morrison, the third overall selection in the 2006 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Bobcats has been the most effective scorer for the Clippers here in Las Vegas but got off to a rough start in the first quarter going 1-for-5 from the floor. Morrison was able to get it going late in the second quarter and finished the half with 10 points including a jumper with .06 remaining to give the Clippers a 41-37 lead going into the locker room. He paced the Clippers with 18 points in the contest on 7-for-15 shooting.
In the third quarter the back-and-forth battle continued. Thomas and Butler combined to score 17 of the Bulls 23 points to give them a 60-58 advantage. Talor Battle, who graduated from Penn State in 2010 and played last season for Telekon Baskets in Germany, answered back for the Clippers, scoring eight points in the third quarter and finishing with 15 points and four assists.
Thomas continued be a standout for the Bulls in the fourth quarter and his dunk with 2:21 remaining gave the Bulls a 75-72 lead. After two Jimmy Butler free throws extended the lead to 77-72, Hubbard came back with a lay-in to cut the Bulls lead back to three. With 29 seconds left, the Clippers inbounded looking to tie it up but failed on three consecutive three point attempts.
The Clippers were forced into fouling Demetri McCarney with five seconds remaining. McCarney went on to miss both free throws but the Clippers were unable to take advantage on a final three point attempt by Battle as time expired.
The Bulls and Clippers will both return to the floor tomorrow for the final day of NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. The Bulls open tomorrow's slate at 1 P.M. when they take on the Milwaukee Bucks. The Clippers will follow them up at 3 pm versus the Boston Celtics. Both games are scheduled at Cox Pavilion.
|Fast Break Pts:||4||4|
|Points in the Paint:||44||32|
|Chicago Bulls (1-3)|
|J. Johnson||DNP - Coach's Decision|
|43.3%||33.3%||85.7%||team rebs: 12||total to: 17|
|Los Angeles Clippers (1-3)|
|C. Hunter||DNP - Coach's Decision|
|34.9%||34.8%||61.5%||team rebs: 5||total to: 14|