The Chicago Bulls look to finish off the California road trip right where it started, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Last night, the Bulls won in Sacramento and they look to advance to 3-1 for the trip, as well as their season record against the Clippers.
The Chris Paul saga started at Carmelo Anthony’s wedding, but he wound up on the other coast. With the short amount of preparation, the Clippers started the season with a dominant presence, making this look like it would give the Bulls the biggest challenge on the 4-game trip.
For most of the game, the Bulls and Clippers were moving back and forth on the scoreboard. The Bulls rarely gave up the lead and the Clippers just kept tying the game back up. Right around the segue leading to the 4th, the Bulls finally distanced themselves to win, 114-101.
Blake Griffin was as aggressive as we have seen him. He also became vocal about calls, which is a rather new reaction for Blake. Noah did a fairly decent job of limiting the all-star, Blake, from controlling the paint. While Blake scored 34 points, he was the only reliable source of offense down the stretch, allowing the Bulls defense to take Chris Paul and supporting cast out of the game.
Ronnie Brewer continued to make his shots count, and Korver was very effective matching up with off-positions. Richard Hamilton was also reunited with a former teammate and finals MVP, Chauncey Billips, who sat out this game with an injured groin. Rip stayed consistent and continued to take some of the ball handling load off Rose. He chipped in an effective 16 points.
Defensively, Derrick Rose frustrated Chris Paul all night long. CP3 is going to get his, including a couple good drives, but Rose managed to take the game out of Paul’s hands for most of the night. Derrick had an MVP-like performance tonight doing his thing. Rose’s stat-line was superb, just shy of a triple double, especially against his biggest rival for the “best” point guard in the NBA, and with two high flying defenders in DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin covering the rest.
The Bulls spoiled the LA Clipper’s home opener, by winning 114-101 and advance to a 3-1 record for the season.
The Bulls next game will be the home opener at the United Center on Sunday, January 1st as the Bulls face the Memphis Grizzlies.
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