Preview: Clippers at Bulls
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[January 24, 2014]
The surging Chicago Bulls seek their
fourth straight win when they host the Los Angeles Clippers in a
prime-time matchup Friday night. The Bulls improved to 9-2 this month
and 7-2 since the Luol Deng trade with a 98-87 victory at Cleveland on
Wednesday, pushing the club over .500 for the first time since it was
6-5. D.J. Augustin continued his solid play of late with a game-high 27
points as Chicago survived the absences of forward Carlos Boozer and
guard Kirk Hinrich, who were out with calf and hamstring injuries,
The Clippers are 2-2 thus far on a season high-tying seven-game
road trip after a 95-91 setback at Charlotte on Wednesday. Los
Angeles had only seven made free throws and was 6-for-26 from
3-point range in its worst offensive showing this month. Blake
Griffin scored 27 points in the losing effort, continuing to carry
more of the offensive load in the wake of the shoulder injury to
Chris Paul, who is still targeting a return around the All-Star
TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN, Prime Ticket (Los Angeles), WCIU (Chicago)
ABOUT THE CLIPPERS (29-15): Los Angeles' largest win of the season
was a 39-point rout of Chicago on Nov. 24 at home, but Paul had a
season-high 17 assists in that one and the Bulls were just beginning
to adjust in the wake of the season-ending injury to Derrick Rose.
The Clippers deserve credit for continuing to share the basketball
and take care of it without Paul in the fold, as they still rank
tied for second in the league with a 1.77 assist-to-turnover ratio
and managed 24 assists on 39 baskets in an otherwise rough offensive
showing at Charlotte. Griffin is averaging 4.7 assists this month
after producing 3.1 in both November and December.
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ABOUT THE BULLS (21-20): Among the many changes for Chicago
since that embarrassing loss in Los Angeles before Thanksgiving
is the presence of Augustin, who has scored 27 points in
consecutive games, the latest while starting in place of
Hinrich. Augustin is averaging 17 points on 52.4 percent
shooting and 7.8 assists in four starts as a Bull and should
continue to be more of a factor with Hinrich out for another
week or so. Taj Gibson, who hit the game-winner for Chicago in
its win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday, filled in
admirably for Boozer on Wednesday with 26 points, three blocks
and no turnovers in 43 minutes.
Los Angeles has won the last three games in Chicago and three
straight in the series overall.
Boozer is considered day-to-day.
Bulls C Joakim Noah has hauled in at least 10 rebounds in 14
straight games, the franchise's longest such run since Dennis
Rodman did it in 43 straight games to end the 1996-97 season.
PREDICTION: Bulls 95, Clippers 92
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