BULLet Points: Clippers embarrass Bulls with huge game from bench

The Bulls hung tough the first 24 minutes against the Los Angeles Clippers and headed into halftime down just four. But leaky defense and turnovers turned the second half into a rout.

  • Doc Rivers has taken a lot of grief for his inability to build a half-decent reserve unit in his tenure as Clippers coach and general manager. That narrative has continued this season as the team’s biggest acquisitions have been either shipped off or glued to the pine. But for one glorious Sunday afternoon, the Clippers bench  carried their team to victory.
  • Jamal Crawford, who until recently had been the last Bull to score 50 points in a game, led all scorers in this game with 26 points in 26 minutes. Crawford was an efficient 11/15 from the field and 2/3 from three. He only attempted two free throws, but both came on back to back and-1 opportunities to blow the game open in the third quarter.
  • The bench accounted for 11 of the Clippers 17 three pointers made. Austin Rivers and Wes Johnson combined to shoot 8/11 from deep on mostly wide open attempts.
  • Derrick Rose was explosive with the ball. His shot chart is packed with attempts in the paint, many of which he finished while absorbing contact. Rose did not attempt a free throw, but that was due to a few blown calls rather than any lack of aggression. Rose finished the game with 20 points, five rebounds and four assists, and his graceful flashes to the hoop were the few enjoyable parts of watching this game.

  • Jimmy Butler was just not feeling it. He managed to score a team high 23 points, but needed 25 shooting possessions to get there. Butler shot 8/22 from the field, missing several of the leaning mid range shots he typically drills home. Butler spent all afternoon trying to shoot himself out of the bad day instead of trying to create scoring chances for his teammates. Jimmy is averaging  4.3 assists per game and lends a hand in 19% of the Bulls baskets when he’s on the court, both career highs. This zero assist outing is an outlier for the two time All-Star.
  • The Bulls played with no energy in the second half. The Clippers hung 69 points on the Bulls the final two quarters. The Bulls perimeter defense was especially poor in this game. Clippers guards sliced past the first line of defense at will, forcing the Bulls into sloppy rotations. Los Angeles played unselfish basketball, knowing that two quick passes after a drive was all it took to find a wide open teammate.
  • The challenge of finding a Mike Dunleavy replacement drags on after E’Twaun Moore struggled Sunday. Moore scored 10 points on 4/7 shooting, but passed on a couple of wide open threes that could have opened up some space for the decrepit offense. Moore was also unable to slow down JJ Redick in this game. Redick was a perfect 4/4 from three and scored 21 points.
  • I love Hubie Brown. At one point he compared Crawford’s ability to use the glass to Sam Jones of the ’60s Celtics. But for some reason, he kept pronouncing Redick “Riddick.” This bothered me immensely.
  • Chris Paul is already the best pick and roll point guard in the NBA, so when the Clippers do quirky things to change the geometry of the play, defenses don’t have a chance. On one play, DeAndre Jordan set a hard pick on Derrick Rose just a few steps inside half court. Paul quickly swerved around the pick, forcing Pau Gasol into an uncomfortable switch. Because the pick happened so far from the basket, Paul put an unusually long distance between him and Gasol, who quickly went into full deer-in-the-headlights mode. The result of the play was predictable.

  • Coming up: the Bulls head to Utah tomorrow night to take on the Jazz.

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