In their 101-80 loss tonight, the Bulls struggled from the start, unable to stop the momentum that the Clippers established early on both ends of the court. For example, sixth man Jamal Crawford scored 17 of his 22 points in the 2nd quarter. On defense, the Clippers forced 12 turnovers in the first half alone and held Bulls center Joakim Noah to only 4 points. It’s clear that the Bulls still haven’t found their rhythm without Derrick Rose, who is still recovering from a torn ACL. But even when Rose does come back, the Bulls do not seem to have the bench game that would allow them to compete with the league’s elite teams.
Now let’s talk about a team that does have the bench to do it: the Clippers. The bench–which has come to be known affectionately as the Clippers ‘second team’–outscored the starters 53-48. But it was Blake Griffin who really paved the way to a Clippers victory with 26 points and 10 rebounds. If there was anyone left who saw Griffin as a one-dimensional player (aka a dunk machine), tonight’s all-star caliber performance should put those doubters to rest.
True to form, Clippers bench players Jamal Crawford and Matt Barnes asserted their worth with 22 points and 13 points respectively. For the Bulls, Carlos Boozer led the team with 22 points and 12 rebounds, and Luol Deng and Richard Hamilton each contributed 14 points.
With tonight’s win, the Clippers advance to 7-2, and the Bulls drop to 5-4. Looking for their 6th straight win, the Clippers face the San Antonio Spurs for the second time on Monday.