While his teammates shot the lights out from 3-point range,
forward Blake Griffin produced 26 points, 13 rebounds and a
team-high seven assists as the hot-shooting Clippers beat the
Chicago Bulls 112-95 on Friday at the United Center.
The Clippers knocked down 10 of their first 11 attempts from 3-point
range and the Bulls never got closer than eight points after falling
behind 41-26 in the first quarter. Overall, the Clippers went 13 for
21 from long range.
"It's really about our ball movement offensively that gets us those
shots," Griffin said. "When guys hit shots like that, then you have
guys like DeAndre (Jordan) finishing down low, it makes it tough on
Guard Jamal Crawford added 19 points, guard J.J. Redick scored 18
and guard Darren Collison finished with 17. The Clippers shot 54
percent as a team and are now 11-2 at the United Center since the
"It was our ball movement. That was terrific tonight," Clippers
coach Doc Rivers said. "We talked about that after the Charlotte
game (a loss on Wednesday) where the ball never got to the other
side of the floor."
Forward Carlos Boozer led the Bulls with 22 points. Forward Taj
Gibson scored 18, forward Mike Dunleavy had 17, while center Joakim
Noah finished with 13 rebounds, 12 points and seven assists. Chicago
came into this one with nine wins in its last 11 games.
The Clippers (30-15) came out scorching hot, shooting 74 percent
overall in the first quarter while scoring 41 points — a
season-high for a Bulls opponent.
"That was pretty much the story of the game," Chicago coach Tom
Thibodeau said of the first quarter. "We were chasing our tail the
rest of the game."
The game followed a consistent pattern. Trailing by 15 after one
quarter, Chicago closed within 45-37 midway through the second after
a Gibson jumper. The Clippers answered with a 12-2 run, capped by a
fast-break alley-oop from Griffin to center DeAndre Jordan, and the
lead was 60-39.
Early in the third quarter, the Bulls climbed within nine points on
a layup by Boozer. The Clippers came back with an 8-0 run to push
the advantage to 76-59 on a lay-in by Griffin with 7:34 left in the
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"When Chris went out, we looked to Blake for leadership,"
Rivers said. "When we hit 3-point shots like tonight, it
stretches the defense. When we can make them spread the floor,
it gives Blake space and that's a big difference."
Consecutive 3-pointers by forward Dunleavy sparked a response by
the Bulls, who got within 78-70 on a 3-pointer by guard D.J.
Augustin. Collison, starting at point guard in place of Paul,
scored the Clippers' next 10 points and the lead was back up to
21 when a Crawford 3-pointer made it 101-80 two minutes into the
The Bulls (21-21) got the lead down to 12 points a couple times,
but it did no good. This was their second loss to the Clippers
this season. They lost by 39 points in Los Angeles on Nov. 24,
the first game after guard Derrick Rose suffered a season-ending
Chicago started the night ranked second in the league in points
allowed (92.5) and third in defensive field-goal percentage
"We made it real hard on ourselves because we gave them
confidence to start the game," Thibodeau added. "Offensively, I
thought we were good enough. Defensively, I thought we were very
poor. I don't think there was any aspect of our defense that was
up to what our standards are."
NOTES: Bulls G Kirk Hinrich missed his second straight game with
a right hamstring strain and coach Tom Thibodeau does not expect
Hinrich to make the trip to Charlotte for Saturday's contest.
... Bulls F Carlos Boozer returned after missing one game with a
left calf strain. ... Clippers coach Doc Rivers pumped up C
DeAndre Jordan as an all-star reserve before Friday's game.
"He's the best defensive player in the league, in my opinion.,"
Rivers said. ... After Rivers said the Bulls would be nuts to
let Thibodeau coach anywhere else next season, Thibodeau made a
joke about people questioning whether he might leave. "The rumor
about my date with (model) Kate Upton, started by me, I'm not
commenting on that, either," he said. "So let's move on." ...
Thibodeau said he is in favor of G Derrick Rose playing for Team
USA this summer at the FIBA World Cup in Spain, provided Rose is
recovered from surgery to repair torn cartilage in his right
knee. "If his health is there, I think it makes a lot of sense,"
said Thibodeau, who will serve as an assistant coach on the Team
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