LA Clippers Can’t Handle Chicago


83. 24. Final. 80. 77

Blake Griffin was ejected in the third quarter of the Clippers losing effort against the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night.

The Bulls had a 14-point lead when Blake Griffin was ejected on a controversial flagrant foul on Taj Gibson in the third quarter.  Griffin went up to block Gibson and instead clothes-lined Gibson across the face.

Griffin helped Gibson back to his feet and was apologetic of the play, however upon review the officials felt that the wind-up that Griffin showed warranted the ejection.

Without their best player, the Clippers actually outscored the Bulls and evened up the game without Griffin and Chris Paul who was on the bench for most of the fourth quarter.

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Los Angeles was able to go on a 7-0 run that took the Bulls lead away.  Coming out of the ensuing time-out, Chicago was able to get back in rhythm and had a three point lead going into the final play.

With the final possession, the Clippers in-bounded to Paul who heaved the ball for a long three that bounced off the rim.  The Bulls secured the rebound and took the game with a final score of 83-80.

All night it seemed that the Bulls were more successful in their execution.  A large catalyst for that was Pau Gasol who lead both teams with 24 points.  Jimmy Butler provided 14 points and Gibson provided 12.

Derrick Rose had an off-night and had only 2 points in the first half.  He returned from half-time without the protective face mask that he has worn since opening night and accumulated nine points for a grand total of 11.

Blake Griffin led the Clippers despite being ejected in the third quarter with 18 points.  Wesley Johnson had 9 points and went 3-4 from beyond the arc that included huge shots in the fourth quarter to get his team back in the game.

Chris Paul had 12 points but it was his huge three pointer from far behind the three-point line that ignited his team and kept the Bulls deficit at three.

Throughout the night, one of the players that was criticized for Los Angeles was DeAndre Jordan.  The center had a double-double with 10 points and a game high 14 rebounds.

However, when analyzing the game at half-time, it was highlighted that Jordan was passive on several plays and passed up on what could have been easy points for L.A.

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The loss snaps a three-game win streak for the Clippers who continue to struggle against the elite teams in the NBA.  The team returns to action on Saturday when they play the Brooklyn Nets.

While the upcoming match-up with the Lakers on Christmas may garner the most attention, the next game with post-season implications is on December 18 against the Spurs.

San Antonio has the second best record in the Western Conference and is seen as the second biggest threat in the west besides the Warriors.

Bottom Line: Lob City needs to play as a team.

A victory over San Antonio would be invaluable for momentum and team morale.  With a week and three games in the interim, the Clippers have the time to address key issues to be prepared for the match-up.