After having the lead most of the game, the Chicago Bulls lost to the Los Angles Clippers 102-95.
For the Clippers, Blake Griffin had 26 points and 13 rebounds, Chris Paul had 19 points and 8 assists, as well as Maurece Speights coming off the bench to score 16, hitting 3 of 4 from three-point range.
For the Bulls, Dwyane Wade had 28 points and 8 rebounds, Jimmy Butler had 22 points and 6 rebounds, while the rest of the team only combined for 43 points.
The Bulls had the advantage early, as they took a 10 point lead into the second quarter, and then a 5 point lead, 52-47 into the half.
JJ Reddick inability to hit from three was a problem all game for the Clippers (1/5), and their offense was really unable to stretch the floor until the fourth quarter.
The third and fourth quarters had the intensity like that of a playoff game. The scoring was even in the third giving the Bulls a 5 point lead going into the 4th.
Maurice Speights scored 11 of 16 points (a season high) in the fourth for the Clippers, including recording a necessary assist with 49 seconds left of an offensive rebound to Jamal Craford for an acrobat layup, sealing the lead for the Clippers.
The Bulls were not able to contain the lead, and lost to the Clippers 102-95.
- The Clippers are still in my opinion the best team in the NBA. For now. After beating the Sacramento Kings and Chicago in close ones on overlapping nights, it seems to be the case. Chris Paul has the highest PER (player efficiency rating) in the league, above 31. As early as it is, he’s a possible MVP canidate. Blake Griffin has scored 20+ points in the last 7 straight games. Their bench is one of the deepest in the league, including Brandon Bass, Raymond Felton, and Austin Rivers Everything is clicking for the Clippers. Is it sustainable? Most likely no. The Warriors will continue to harmonize and soon that 1st seed in the West will be far, far away.
- As far as the Bulls are concerned, Dwyane Wade had another spectacular night from three point range, 5 from 9. The rest of his teammates only hit 4 other threes on the night. For a team that finds its identity from the three ball, the Bulls need to make more than 9 from 30 from deep to continue to win games. And it all can’t be courtesy of Dwyane Wade.
- Otherwise, the Bulls continue to dominate people on the glass, something that has been a nice surprise for Chicago fans. Even though they only edged the Clippers 40 to 39 in the rebound battle, they had 3 more offensive rebounds and shocked a team that’s usually a top rebounding presence in Jordan and Griffin. Taj Gibson seems to be in every play, and Lopez’s presence on the offensive boards has been evident, as he had 3 tonight. Heck, even Rajon Rondo joined in the act with 4 offensive boards.
- Rajon Rondo, however, continues to prove that he is a subpar option at point guard. His porous defense and ways of breaking the flow of their offense is something that needs to change, and fast. Tonight he had the worst plus/minus on the team of -16. Not to mention 3 turnovers. Even though tonight people will look at his stats and say, “Oh, he almost had a triple double” (9/10/8), his inefficiencies go beyond the box score and continue to hurt his team.
- Up Next: The Bulls play the Lakers Sunday night in Los Angles, a team they have beaten for three consecutive years.