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Bulls vs. Clippers preview: Chicago looks for a bounce back performance against one of the NBA’s best

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Two teams heading into the second night of a back to back but in different directions

NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at Minnesota Timberwolves Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

To say the Chicago Bulls had a rough night offensively in their last game against the Charlotte Hornets is putting it lightly. As a team they had a true shooting percentage of 38 percent and they were even worse from three at 20.6 percent. At the start of both halves Chicago failed to get going out of the gate. They scored a combined 25 points in the first and third quarter. Two of the starters in Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen scored double digits but the rest of the starters combined for just 16 points. Thad Young had 10 along with Ryan Arcidiacono scoring 12 off the bench tried to give Chicago some scoring pop but it wasn’t enough to give them a spark. Both teams failed to even score 90 points but the Hornets made enough plays down the stretch to win 83-73.

This was the fourth loss in five games for Chicago with their only victory in that stretch coming Wednesday against the Atlanta Hawks. With the loss against Charlotte, the Bulls has dropped to 5-10 at home and now playing the tail end of a back to back, Chicago needs a monster effort against one of the best teams in the league.

The Los Angeles Clippers are also going to be coming into this matchup a bit weary. They had a barnburner of a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves last night. On the road and up by as much as 27, it looked like a clear and easy win for LA. But Minnesota stormed nearly back thanks to 39 points from Karl Anthony-Towns and 34 from Andrew Wiggins respectively. It was a rapid fourth quarter with the Timberwolves outscoring the Clippers by 14 but thanks to an incredible performance by Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. The two superstars scored a combined 88 points by themselves to help Los Angeles earn a solid 124-117 road win. The win was their fourth in a row and fifth in six games. The victory also helped them in their race to catch the Los Angeles Lakers at the one seed. The Clippers cross city rivals currently sit 3.5 games ahead of them in the standings and with the Dallas Mavericks only 1.5 games back, there isn’t a lot of wiggle room.

It’s clear the Clippers are going to be a tough test for the Bulls. They are fourth in the league in net rating and have a very solid roster from the starters to the reserves. We already know about how much George and Leonard can carry the offensive workload for the starters. While they rest, the likes of Montrezl Harrell, Lou Williams, and Landry Shamet come in and still give trouble to opposing defenses. It’s a very deep team for the Clippers but it doesn’t mean they aren’t heading into this one with their own share of injury problems.

To begin with, Leonard has been ruled out along with Shamet. While Lou Williams, Patrick Beverley, and JaMychal Green are all listed as questionable according to Andrew Greif of the LA Times.

As for the Bulls, they still haven’t exactly released their injury report as of 4pm today but it’s likely that Cristiano Felicio is still out with a wrist injury while status of Chandler Hutchison may be up in the air with a right shoulder injury. Otto Porter Jr. will missing this one as he’s still out with a right foot injury.

Both teams are going to be tired coming out of the gate given it’s the second game of a back to back. Also with the Clippers lack of depth with their injury issues and the Bulls coming off a woeful offensive performance, we could possibly be in for an ugly one at the UC.

Game Time: 7PM CT

TV: NBC Sports Chicago

Betting Info: The Clippers opened as a 4.5 point favorite but in some places the line has dipped down to -3.5 for LA.