Below is an excerpt from my circus road trip preview:
Mon | Nov 17th – Bulls at L.A. – NBATV (9:30P CST) #CHIvsLAC
I feel good about winning here. Haven’t lost 2 games in a row yet and Bulls will be licking their chops after the beating taken from IND on their home floor. Rose has officially been ruled out and Paul is playing at an extremely high level right now, getting 32 pts. (5-6 from three) and 9 assists against PHX in a win last night. Amazingly, as a team, they are 29th in rebounds and 21st in points allowed. The Clippers are content in their offensive attack and look to outscore their opponent. That will play right into the Bulls hands as we will likely force them into a half court game and make them execute and play defense. The Clippers also haven’t won 2 consecutive games since starting the season 2-0. Real up and down performances from them so far. If we can take care of the ball we can also cut down on their fast break points. W Bulls 102 Clippers 93
Bulls took down the Clippers at Staples Center in spectacular fashion… The trends that I followed when scouting and predicting this contest managed to hold true. They held true even with Pau Gasol being held out for a sore calf. The Clippers play embarrassingly lazy defense, over-rely on CP3, Crawford iso’s and transition/fast break points. They continued their up and down season, falling to the Bulls 105-89 after beating the Phoenix Suns rather convincingly on Saturday, 120-107.
Bulls came out strong, outscoring the Clippers 21-18 in the first quarter… Clippers took control of the 2nd quarter and Chris Paul rattled of 6 consecutive pts. on three mid-range jumpers. It was at this point of the game that you kind of thought the Clippers would put the Bulls away since CP3 couldn’t be contained. After falling into a 14 pt. deficit after a Paul 20-footer, the Clippers began to miss shots and turn the ball over, giving the Bulls a chance to get back into the ball game. They would pull to within 2 pts. at the close of the half, on a Jimmy Butler and one play. This setup a showdown in the 3rd that the Bulls would end up winning with effort, defense and commitment to their offensive sets. They sustained a run by the Clippers in the 4th, who managed to pull to within 10 on a Paul free throw at the 2:54 mark.
That “and one” play by Jimmy to close the half (and cap a 16-4 Bulls run) was one back breaker, but I also thought that Jimmy Butler’s continued assault of the rim just changed the game for good. Neither Crawford, Matt Barnes or the Clips rookie Reggie Bullock could contain Jimmy, who was too athletic for these players. Kirk Hinrich also changed the game with his grit and fiery demeanor. He made timely shots (4-6 from three) and simply outmuscled the Clips over and over. Forcing turnovers, being quicker to loose balls and playing tenacious defense. Just great leadership by Kirk in Rose’s absence. Bulls also only had 8 turnovers and held LA to only 2 fast break points, which are their bread and butter in terms of an offensive attack.
J. Butler CHI (22pts 6rebs 1asts 2stls 0blk) 45min
T. Gibson CHI (20pts 5rebs 6asts 1stls 2blk) 41min
M. Duleavy CHI (19pts 7rebs 0asts 0stls 0blk) 35min
D. McDermott CHI (0pts 2rebs 0asts 0stls 0blk) 10min
In Game Tweets:
Meanwhile, in perhaps the best news of the night, Joakim did Joakim things again: 11 pts, 16 boards, 6 assists. Totally worth celebrating!
— Adam Jun (@ajbulls) November 18, 2014
- Derrick missed his 6th game of the young season to continue to treat that mild hamstring pull suffered in the Toronto win.
- Pau was also a late scratch… Held out to nurse a sore calf.
- Noah trolled Blake Griffin on the sideline while he bricked a couple of free throws, eliciting rare giggles from the usually stoic Rose.
- Doc Rivers said before the contest that Jimmy Butler is playing at an All Star level right now.
I actually predicted a loss tomorrow at SAC simply because of the recent strong play of Cousins and the leadership of Collison. They also took the Spurs down 94-91 the other day. The Spurs have been kind of up and down lately so not sure if that’s a good barometer anymore. They lost to the Pels on their home floor last night and will likely come out hungrier to get a win vs. the Bulls… A rare (for them) TNT national broadcast will also further punctuate the air with electricity. I’ll be happy to be wrong about a loss and we’ll be in-game tweeting from @ChitwnBullsBlog <– Follow us for the latest! #SeeRed.