At an odd 6:00 start time in the Clippers last home game before the upcoming road haul, LA took care of business, crushing the Bulls by 21 points and holding Chicago to under 34% shooting from the field en route to the big win they needed to extend their winning streak to 5.
The Clippers were ahead by 13 at halftime, and while the Bulls went on a couple of runs, the win wasn't in serious danger for the majority of the night. So, let's get straight to some game notes:
- Defenses: The Clippers defense allows an average of 95 points per game on 44% from the field. Tonight? The Bulls managed only 80 points on under 34% shooting. On the other end of the spectrum, the Bulls only give up 92.4 points a night on under 43% shooting; tonight the Clippers scored 101 on over 49% from the field.
- Blake Griffin: Tonight, Blake had a pretty good game and his stat line looked a lot like what one would expect to see from him on a given night: 26 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists on 11-18 shooting. Maybe the 4-5 free throws is a little unusual. More unusual? Something not in the box score: Blake's jumper was on all night tonight, including a stretch in the 4th quarter where the All-Star made three 18+ foot jumpshots in a 70 second span. Progress, ladies and gentlemen, progress. Not to mention he's above 65% on free throws this year.
- The rotation: Ronny Turiaf seems to have fallen out of favor with Vinny Del Negro, as he only played 2 minutes tonight compared to 15 for Lamar Odom and 17 for Ryan Hollins, whose play so far has left me thoroughly impressed. Those two backup bigs were two of ten Clippers players who played 15 or more minutes tonight- an impressive display of depth as Blake Griffin led the team with only 33 minutes.
- Eric Bledsoe: Wow. Just wow is this kid amazing, and tonight he had several plays where he really looked like an all-pro. His shooting isn't great yet, but he is so much more polished offensively now than when he came into the league that he looks like a different player offensively. Twice (maybe three times) Bloodsoe drove to the hoop and floated in little touch shots and runners that I didn't know were in his repertoire. All this on top of his amazing athleticism and harassing defense.
- Jamal Crawford: The other backup guard for the Clippers is no slouch either. Crawford had one of the most efficient performances in recent memory as he poured in 22 points on only 10 shots. Even though Chicago focused their defensive effort on Los Angeles' leading scorer, they couldn't stop him from getting over his season average as he made three threes and all seven of his free throws.
- Block Party: DeAndre Jordan had a solid game tonight with his scoring and rebounding, but what made it exemplary was the young center's 7 blocks. Jordan also held Joakim Noah, who is no 'joak' (I promise this recap is almost over) to 0-6 from the field.
- Win Streak: The Clippers have now won 5 games in a row, obviously their best streak of the young season. Last year, the Clippers had two streaks of this length. The longest LAC win streak a year ago was 6 games, which could be tied next game.
- On the Road: This was a getaway game for the Clippers, as they leave town tonight and head towards San Antonio for a Monday night matchup that will kick off a tough 4-game, 6-day roadie that also stops in Oklahoma City (7-3), Brooklyn (5-2), and Atlanta (4-4). The Clippers have already beaten the Spurs and Hawks this season, but both games were at Staples Center.
- Look at the Standings: The Clippers still sit in the third spot in the Western Conference after tonight's win puts them at 7-2. The Grizzlies (8-1) and Spurs (8-2) remain ahead of them. A win on Monday would go a long way towards a run at the #1 spot for the Clippers. LAC is still a full two games ahead of Golden State in the Pacific Division. Behind them are, in order, the Lakers, Suns, and Kings- all one game behind their respective leader.
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