Bulls fall to 5-4 in embarrassing blowout to Clippers in L.A.
The Bulls turned the ball over 12 times in the first 17 minutes, largely contributing to the Clips' 17 fast break points in that span and 35 second-quarter points. Taking a 53-40 lead into halftime, Chris Paul came into the second half with a clear mission to slow the game down and limit the Bulls' possessions to minimize their chance to mount a comeback.
Bulls locked down to cause some shot clock violations and closed out on the 3-point line well to force L.A. to put the ball on the floor. But the 26 fast break points and the 20 points off of turnovers contributed to a .493 FG% that made up for the Clippers' inefficiency spurts and Bulls mini-runs.
The scoring woes of the Bulls' first half where Carlos Boozer, Richard Hamilton, and Luol Deng accounted for 14 of the Bulls' 16 first-half baskets didn't shift. Joakim Noah and Kirk Hinrich missed all 11 of their combined shots for four and one point, respectively. Boozer led the way with a string 22-point, 12-rebound double-double while Deng and Rip disappeared in the second half.
The Clippers bench, led by Jamal Crawford, outscored the Bulls' 53-25. The Bulls' 33.7% brickfest from the field wasn't aided by Taj Gibson and Marco Belinelli's 1-for-6 nights. Deng was a 5-for-16 bricklayer, missing his only 3-pointer. The Bulls, as a whole, shot 2-for-14 on on threes.
On the face, one could think the Bulls' did well on the boards, out-rebounding L.A. 45-41, but a whole gaggle of their 21 offensive boards were Moses Malones where they were anemic to finish at the rim.
Blake Griffin had a modest start to the game in the box score. The fingerprints of his aggressiveness were all over the game and he closed it out well with a 6-for-8 shooting fourth quarter to end with 22 points on 10-for-19 with 10 rebounds and two steals.
All in all, awful performance where the Bulls' defensive rotations weren't even challenged all too much. Tom Thibodeau's team shot itself in the foot, not taking care of the ball, and lost their energy getting killed in the open court.
Stats via NBA.com.