The Los Angeles Clippers know a little bit about the knockout punch, and they delivered one against the Bulls Sunday in a second half thumping for a 120-93 victory.
The Clippers won for the 16th time in their last 19 games to go to 32-16. The Bulls fell to 1-1 on their road trip and are 26-20. The Bulls play in Salt Lake City Monday. Time to start a new month.
The Bulls closed January 8-8 and are now 10-11 on the road and have lost eight of 12.
The Bulls were led by Jimmy Butler with 23 points and Derrick Rose with 20. Pau Gasol had 15 points, 14 rebounds and five assists. The Clippers shot 17 for 32 from the three-point line and got a game high 26 points from Jamal Crawford, 21 points from J.J. Redick and 17 points and 20 rebounds from DeAndre Jordan.
The Bulls got Kirk Hinrich back from a quad injury, and Mike Dunleavy was closer as he’ll practice in the D-league this week. The Bulls got ahead quickly, 6-0 and 8-3 as they took advantage of the Clippers playing small with Paul Pierce at power forward for injured Blake Griffin. Butler and Rose combined to shoot six for 10 in the quarter for 14 points, but the Bulls couldn’t get good shots to go with excellent ball movement and trailed 24-22 after the first quarter with Jordan repeatedly getting second shots and a stunning 12 first quarter rebounds, three more than the entire Bulls team. The Bulls committed to five reserves to open the second quarter and eased ahead 31-29 on a Doug McDermott three before Crawford became the sixth different Clipper to make a three for a 38-33 Clippers lead midway through the second quarter. The Clippers continued to take advantage of second shots for points, a Bulls issue much of the season as Crawford got a three on a Lance Stephenson rebound and the Clippers pulled ahead 43-35 with 3:30 left in the first half. Rose then impressed the Hollywood crowd with a blow by and crossover moves past Chris Paul for scores and pulled within 51-47 at the half. Rose and Butler combined for 22 points. The Bulls hit a late third quarter speed bump with three turnovers in four possessions as the Clippers scored six straight to lead 84-73 after three quarters. The Bulls could not deal with the Clippers shooters over the screens as first Redick got going with 11 third quarter points after he missed a breakaway layup, the Clippers shooting 60 percent in the third quarter. The Bulls attempt at intentionally fouling Jordan went availing as Jordan made three of four in the quarter. Then former Bull Crawford put on a show to open the fourth quarter, coming of screens and crossing over Bulls defenders for eight straight points and assisting on a three for a 95-77 Clippers lead two minutes into the fourth quarter. The Bulls hit the Clippers with a mild run to get within 98-84 before Crawford again scored twice for a 102-86 Clippers lead with 6:33 left in the game.