So far, the west coast road trip has been kind to the Chicago Bulls. They beat Portland on the road on Tuesday and played competitive games against both the Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Lakers. Chicago now stands at 4-6, good enough for 12th in the Eastern Conference. They are a game behind the 8th placed Charlotte Hornets for the final playoff spot.
Although they have lost two games in a row, there still is a lot to like about the way the Bulls are playing. They are holding their own against playoff teams and had great chances to snatch wins in each of these games. Plus we have seen good performances from numerous players on this road trip. Both Zach LaVine and Coby White have had some amazing scoring games, Wendell Carter Jr. had 23 points (and 7 rebounds) on Friday, and Patrick Williams even impressed LeBron James with his play. Today is the last test in their road trip and it comes against another western conference playoff team.
The Los Angeles Clippers have the third best record in the West at 6-4 but had a rough past week of games. They have dropped two of their last three games including a brutal loss against the Golden State Warriors on Friday. Despite being up by as much as 22, Los Angeles offense started sputtering in the third quarter, allowing Steph Curry and company to get back into the game. The former MVP scored 38 points and had 11 assists as the Warriors outscored LA by 24 in the second half en route to a 115-105 win. Paul George scored 25 and Kawhi Leonard had 24 in the loss.
This will be another defensive test for Williams as he will likely be matched up against another elite wing in this game. On Friday it was LeBron, and now it looks like he will be matched up against Leonard. Although it’s still early in his NBA career, this will be a good measuring stick for the rookie in terms of his defensive prowess and awareness. He played well on Friday, holding more than his own for a guy guarding one of the leagues best players for the first time. Today he has to face another tough assignment. In todays NBA you need guys who can guard these elite wings and this will be another evaluation for if Williams can be that type of player.
Otto Porter Jr. missed the second half of the the game on Friday due to back spasms and that is going go keep him out for this one.
The Bulls will also still be missing the same four guys they have been without through the entirety of the trip in Lauri Markkanen, Tomas Satoransky, Chandler Hutchison, and Ryan Arcidiacano.
Clippers injury report looks clean.
Game Time: 3PM Central Time
Odds: The Clippers opened as a nine point favorite but the line has moved to them being a 11 and a half point favorite. You can find LA (-12) at a couple of places as well. You can find totals for this game at 220.5, 221, and 221.5 depending on where you look (all via the Action Network).