Clippers-Bulls Preview

Los Angeles Clippers Status Check:
Record: 14-6
Division: 3-1
Conference: 10-3
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.”

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