Breaking News Bar
updated: 1/24/2014 11:08 PM

Bulls get a reality check from Clippers

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • Carlos Boozer (5), left, and D.J. Augustin (14) react after the Clippers' Darren Collison was fouled in the second half of the Bulls' loss on Friday at the United Center.

      Carlos Boozer (5), left, and D.J. Augustin (14) react after the Clippers' Darren Collison was fouled in the second half of the Bulls' loss on Friday at the United Center.
    Associated Press

  • Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin, center, battles for a rebound against Chicago Bulls forward Carlos Boozer, left, and guard Jimmy Butler during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Chicago on Friday, Jan. 24, 2014.

      Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin, center, battles for a rebound against Chicago Bulls forward Carlos Boozer, left, and guard Jimmy Butler during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Chicago on Friday, Jan. 24, 2014.
    Associated Press

 
 

Winning nine of 11 games without Derrick Rose and, for the most part, Luol Deng has been a warm and fuzzy story during a freezing month of January for the Bulls and their fans.

But an overlooked obstacle threatened to smash this little run like a falling icicle. The Bulls had played just 12 of 30 games against Western Conference teams.

Order Reprint Print Article
 
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.
Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Success - request sent close

Reality set in Friday, when the Los Angeles Clippers sent a reminder that Eastern Conference competition might be closer to D-League level than what is played out West.

The Bulls barely knew what hit them as the Clippers scored 41 points in the first quarter, knocked down 10 of their first 11 attempts from 3-point range and rolled to a 112-95 victory. The Bulls never got closer than 8 after the first quarter as the Clippers improved to 11-2 at the United Center since the 2000-01 season.

"That was pretty much the story of the game," coach Tom Thibodeau said of the first quarter. "We were chasing our tail the rest of the game."

Carlos Boozer, back after sitting out in Cleveland with a calf injury, led the Bulls with 22 points. Kirk Hinrich (right hamstring strain) missed his second straight game and is not expected to make the trip for Saturday's game in Charlotte.

After facing the Bobcats, the Bulls must navigate a stretch where 15 of 23 games are against teams from the West, including the six-game ice show road trip. The scrappy underdog angle may not last much longer if they can't play better than they did Friday.

"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."

Blake Griffin led the Clippers with 26 points, 13 rebounds and didn't hit any 3-pointers. Ex-Bull Jamal Crawford (3-for-5 from long range) scored 19 points and J.J. Redick (4-for-7) added 18. Overall, the Clippers drained 13 of 21 shots from behind the 3-point line.

"We strive for 5 or less (per game)," Taj Gibson said. "That was just crazy. Once you give a team like this confidence, it's hard to turn it off."

Another interesting part of this game was the battle between Griffin and Joakim Noah (13 rebounds, 12 points). The two players were battling and shoving each other all night. Both led their respective teams in assists with 7 each and after the game, greeted each other like lifelong friends.

"He's strong and he's active," Griffin said of Noah. "Always moving, always having his hands going. You can never relax. You can never assume you have an open shot or rebound."

• Follow Mike's Bulls reports on Twitter @McGrawDHBulls.

Share this page
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.