December 11, 2012
Los Angeles Clippers Status Check:
Road Record: 4-3
Last 10 Games: 6-4
Streak: Won 6
Last game: 102-78 win over Toronto
PPG: 102.3 (6th)
Opponents PPG: 94.5 (7th)
Offensive Rating: 110.5 (4th)
Defensive Rating: 102.1 (7th)
Pace: 92.1 (15th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: .523 (4th)
Turnover Percentage: .140 (14th)
Defensive Rebound Percentage: .714 (26th)
Offensive Rebound Percentage: .282 (11th)
Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt: .222 (12th)
Opp. eFG%: .483 (11th)
Opp. TO%: .167 (1st)
Opp. FT/FGA: .714 (26th)
Leading scorer: Blake Griffin (18.0)
Stats from Basketball-Reference
Clippers Injury Report:
Chauncey Billups: out (foot tendinitis)
Grant Hill: out (bone bruise in knee)
Trey Thompkins: out (bone bruise in knee)
Coming off their best win of the season over the Knicks, the Bulls task doesn’t get any easier as the Clippers visit the United Center.
Chicago topped New York, who was without Carmelo Anthony, in their fourth game in five nights behind 22 points from each Marco Belinelli and Luol Deng. Since Belinelli was put in the starting line-up, he is averaging 16.8 points per game and is dropping 20.3 points over the last three contests in 41.7 minutes. His shooting has also improved as he’s shooting 47.9 percent as a starter, up from 41.7 on the year.
Belinelli went 1-6 for three points in 17 minutes the last time the Bulls and Clippers met. Not to be outdone, Joakim Noah and Kirk Hinrich both went ohfer. Noah shot 0-6 from the field and recorded seven rebounds and four assists. Hinrich went 0-5, but dished ten assists and coughed it over five times. Hamilton went 6-11 for 14 points, the second best on the Bulls’ team, behind Boozer’s 22 points (10-19).
And, like any good person who cares about his community, when Boozer takes something, he gives back. Blake Griffin posted a double-double (26 points, ten rebounds) while hitting 11-18 shots. Jamal Crawford was hot off the bench, as he’s been all year, dropping 22 points.
The Bulls shot a vomit-inducing 33.7 percent while the Clippers scored at 49.3 percent. Those differences were due in part because Los Angeles scored 26 fast break points, to the Bulls’ ten, and 48 in the paint.
Tom Thibodeau is going to expect a better defensive effort than that, especially since the Bulls have had a few days off since their four games in five nights stretch.
All things considered, the Bulls are happy with their current three game winning streak, but that’s just half what the Clippers have. Los Angeles is in the midst of their second six-game winning streak of the season, while Chicago has put together its most wins all year. The Clips are outscoring opponents by an average of 16.8 points per game during their current streak.
But the Bulls have found that defense that won them games last year, as they have held five of their last six opponents under 90 points, including their last game in which they held a Melo-less Knicks team to 32.1 percent shooting. Chicago is allowing 88.3 points per game in the United Center this season, even though they are just 6-5 at home.
Belinelli has been playing well, but the Bulls will need a lot from him if they want to protect their home court against the Pacific-leading Clippers. “(Saturday) we played offense and defense, rebound, ran,” Belinelli said. “That’s the way we have to play.”
February 3, 2011
Back on December 18, the Clippers beat the Bulls in the United Center when Derrick Rose missed a potential game tying free throw with 0.8 seconds left.
Rose never forgot it.
In the 22 games since, Rose had gone 140-for-160 from the line. That’s a conversion rate of 87.5 percent. Quite a difference from his career mark of 79.2 percent or even his in-season average of 82.4 percent.
That’s something people need to understand about Rose: He’s always getting better.
Think about it. He came into the league without a jump shot. Now he has one. Critics said he couldn’t hit the three-pointer. Now he’s connecting 38 percent of his treys. His court vision was questioned. Now he’s 10th in APG (8.2) and 8th in Assist Percentage (40.6). His defense was called out. Now his defense has improved by a wide margin and he currently ranks 10th in Defensive Win Shares. Earlier this season, ESPN’s John Hollinger wrote that his lack of free throw attempts was preventing him from being an elite point guard. Rose went on to average eight foul shots per game in January.
The game matters to him. Being the best matters to him.
So it should come as no surprise that Derrick wanted payback for that earlier loss to The Other L.A. Team.
Said Rose: “They beat us last time. I wanted some revenge. It was because of me that we lost [in December] where I missed the free throw. And that really hurt me. If anything, it made me stronger as a player.”
It sure did.
The game began with a thrilling first quarter duel between Rose and Blake Griffin, who, by the way, is every bit as good as billed. The Clippers are just as lucky to have Griffin as the Bulls are to have Rose.
Fortunately for Chicago, Vinny Del Negro was coaching from the other bench.
Rose cooled off in the second quarter but returned with a (you guessed it) vengeance in the third quarter, scoring 12 points and dishing out three assists as the Bulls outscored the Clippers 27-22 to take an 11-point lead into the fourth quarter. That’s when the Chicago defense kicked in, limiting L.A. to 17 points over the final 12 minutes, effectively putting the game out of reach.
It says something that Griffin could have a superhero-like game (32 points, 13 rebounds, 7 assists) and the Bulls could soundly beat a Clippers team that had been red-hot at home. It also says something that Rose was getting “M-V-P!” chants on the road in L.A. (Although that probably says more about the historically morbid quality of the Clippers franchise than Rose’s MVP candidacy.)
The Bulls have now won six in a row and are tied (with Miami) for the third-best record in the NBA (behind Boston and San Antonio). And I feel the need to point this out again: Joakim Noah hasn’t played in a month and a half. The Bulls are now 18-6 in his absence. Thanks to the Double Ds: Defense and D-Rose.
Rose finished with a co-game-high 32 points along with a game-best 11 assists. He shot the ball efficiently from three-point range (4-for-8) and overall (11-for-18). He did miss two of his eight free throw attempts, the second of which really upset him despite the fact that the Bulls were up 103-85 with 1:08 left in the game.
I’m okay with Rose expecting perfection, though.
Said Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau: “I think that’s who he is. I think he’s never satisfied. He wants the team to do well. He’s always driving himself to get better. I thought he had great command in this game. I thought the way he started off the game set the tone for us. Very aggressive. Pick and roll, running the team. I thought [he was] aggressive defensively. I thought he did a lot of good things and when he’s going like that, he lifts the whole team.”
Other notables: Carlos Boozer had another double-double (16 points, 10 boards). Taj Gibson (9 points, 12 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocked shots) and C.J. Watson (9 points, 3-for-4, 2-for-3 on threes, 2 rebounds, 2 assists) provided a lift off the bench.
And how about Luol Deng?
Look, we all know Lu will probably never be an All-Star. But night in, night out, he morphs into whatever the Bulls need him to be. And last night, he had an All-Star level game that, because of the Blake and Derrick Show, went almost unnoticed: 26 points, 9-for-17 from the field, 3-for-6 from beyond the arc, 5-for-5 from the line, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and a game-best plus-minus score of +18 in a team-high 39 minutes and 23 seconds of action.
Everything the Bulls do revolves around Rose. Boozer’s inside game keeps the Bulls from being a jumpshot-only team. But although the NBA doesn’t give out an award for it, Deng has been one of the best “Third Guys” in the league this season.
At any rate, it was a nice way to start this current five-game road trip. You know, Rose says he wants to win all five games.
Do you doubt him?
From the AP game notes: “The Bulls have held opponents to fewer than 100 points in 13 straight games and 19 of 20. They are 31-6 this season when giving up fewer than 100 and 0-8 when allowing 100 or more in a regulation game.”
Recap, Box Score, Play-By-Play, Shot Chart, Photos.
February 2, 2011
L.A. Clippers Status Check:
Home Record: 16-13
Last 10 Games: 6-4
Streak: 2 wins
Last game: Won 105-98 vs. Bucks
PPG: 99.5 (12th)
Opponents PPG: 101.4 (19th)
Offensive Rating: 107.0 (16th)
Defensive Rating: 109.0 (20th)
Pace: 92.4 (14th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: .499 (13th)
Turnover Percentage: .149 (28th)
Defensive Rebound Percentage: .743 (15th)
Offensive Rebound Percentage: .303 (3rd)
Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt: .236 (11th)
Opp. eFG%: .502 (16th)
Opp. TO%: .129 (23rd)
Opp. FT/FGA: .265 (27th)
Leading scorer: Eric Gordon (24.1)
Stats from Basketball-Reference.com.
Clippers Injury Report:
Eric Gordon: Sprained right wrist / bone chip (questionable)
Chris Kaman: Bone bruise / sprained left ankle (out indefinitely)
Craig Smith: Herniated disc (out indefinitely)
Back on December 18, the Bulls played their first game without the injured Joakim Noah, at home against the Clippers.
They fell on their faces.
The game ended when Rose missed a free throw that would have tied the game with 0.8 seconds left.
In that game, rookie Blake Griffin dominated the Bulls with 29 points and 12 rebounds. And Taj Gibson has plans to contain Griffin tonight.
Said Gibson: “I’m going to try and get the block or take a foul. Like coach Thibodeau says, nothing easy.”
Not much comes easy against the Bulls these days. They still rank 1st in Defensive Rating (99.2).
Unfortunately, the Bulls are merely 10-10 outside of the Windy City. Meanwhile, the Clips have won nine in a row at home, a streak that includes victories over the Heat, Lakers and Nuggets.
The last time the Clippers won 10 straight at home? It was between December 5, 1975 and January 6, 1976. When the frachise was located in Buffalo. And they were called the Braves.
Not only would the Clips like to make team history, they’d like to win their last home game before starting a league-high 11-game road trip.
To win, the Bulls need to contain Griffin, cool of Randy Foye (who’s been scoring 19.0 PPG in the absence of the injured Eric Gordon), and keep the Clippers away from the offensive glass (the one area in which they are an elite team).