The result: the Bulls were offensively challenged against a tough-minded Los Angeles Clippers squad, who won’t back down from anyone. The Clippers got great games from DeAndre Jordan and Chris Paul. Jordan hauled in 26 rebounds, 17 in the first half; the most rebounds at half than anyone in the league to date. Chris Paul provided the scoring punch with 28 points. Jamal Crawford scored all of his 16 points in the second half, and the Clippers pulled away in the 4th quarter to win 96-86.
The Bulls are missing Derrick Rose but they aren’t saying it. They’re also missing Gibson and now Butler.
Pau Gasol is recovering from a bug and isn’t 100%. He only scored 4 points on 2 of 13 shooting. Key reserve Aaron Brooks is in a slump and shot 5 for 17 from the field. In fact the Bulls shot 31% in the game, a surprisingly low figure. But that happens when your point-makers are out.
Coach Tom Thibodeau of the Bulls thought his team could have won the game.
“It doesn’t matter whose out. That was a winnable game down the stretch and we didn’t get it done,” the coach said post-game.
Rookie F Nikola Mirotic scored a career high 29 points, one of the bright spots for the team. Joakim Noah had another solid game scoring 13 points and grabbing 11 boards. But Mike Dunleavy only scored 3 points on 1 for 3 attempts. It is hard to win when two starters account for 7 points.
“Somebody needed to score the ball,” Mirotic said. “My teammates were trying to find me.”
Jordan had a great game for Los Angeles. He had position and determination to get the ball close in, and wouldn’t be denied.
“If he was doing that offensively he would be recognized as the MVP or one of them,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said.
Crawford was scoreless in the first half but erupted for 16 in the second to provide a good second option for the Clippers.
Chicago falls to 37-23 for the year and are fighting for playoff seeding in the tighter Eastern Conference. The Bulls host the dangerous Washington Wizards on Tuesday at the United Center.