Clippers-Bulls preview: No Rose,still thorny

Jonathan Daniel

The Bulls lost Derrick Rose on Friday, 11 games into his comeback from an absence of over a year. Rose probably won't be gone a year this time, but he'll be gone a while, and it will be interesting to see how the Bulls respond.

2013/2014 NBA Regular Season
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9-5

6-5
November 24th, 2013, 12:30 PM
STAPLES Center
Prime Ticket, KFWB 980 AM, KWKW 1330 AM
Probable Starters
Chris Paul PG Kirk Hinrich
J.J. Redick SG Mike Dunleavy
Jared Dudley SF Luol Deng
Blake Griffin PF Carlos Boozer
DeAndre Jordan C Joakim Noah
Advanced Stats (thru 11/23/13)
97.5 (5th of 30) Pace 92.9 (21st of 30)
110.1 (5th of 30) ORtg 100.6 (25th of 30)
107.8 (28th of 30) DRtg 97.4 (3rd of 30)
Injuries
Maalik Wayns (meniscus surgery) out
Derrick Rose (torn meniscus) out

Jimmy Butler (turf toe) out

The Back Story (Clippers won the series last season 2-0):

-- 11/17/12 in Los Angeles | Clippers 101, Bulls 80 | Recap | Box Score

-- 12/11/12 in Chicago | Clippers 94, Bulls 89 | Recap | Box Score

    The Big Picture:

    The Clippers barely escaped with a win Saturday afternoon, after jumping on the lowly Sacramento Kings early for a 40-20 lead. They eventually had to fight their way back from a five point fourth quarter deficit, and managed to do so without the benefit of any defensive stops -- they just made up the difference in three pointers and three point plays. That's no way to win games. They are lucky in a sense that superstar Derrick Rose will miss the game, but then again, given the Clippers tendency to play poorly against teams they take for granted, perhaps Rose's absence is not such a good thing. Nearing four weeks into the season, the Clippers' defense still has not really gelled to an appreciable extent -- there have been flashes of coherence, but also far too many 30+ point quarters to the likes of the Kings. Blake Griffin had his worst game of the season on Saturday, shooting just 3-10 from the field (he still finished with 16/10) and for the first time Chris Paul failed to reach double figures in assists, snapping his record-setting start of season double-double streak at 13. He'd like to start a new streak today, but he'd like a win more.

    The Antagonist:

    The Bulls were expected to be a real contender in the East this season with a fully healthy Derrick Rose back in the lineup. Instead, they've started the season 6-5, and now they've lost Rose for what figures to be an extended period. Rose tore the meniscus in his right knee on Friday -- just 11 games after returning to NBA action after missing all of last season because of a torn ACL in his left knee. Where does that leave Chicago? Who knows? They managed to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference last season without Rose, but they had an entire off-season to prepare for his absence in that case. This time the news is much more sudden, and even more shocking given the fact that it's two knee injuries in succession. As it happens, the Bulls were already without their starting shooting guard, Jimmy Butler, who is back in Chicago resting his turf toe. Without Rose, much of the scoring load will fall to Carlos Boozer, who's having a very good season so far. But one wonders what the team's mindset is going to be after such depressing news.

    The Subplots

    • Comparison of key metrics. The Bulls are always among the top defensive teams in the league, and this season is no exception.
    • Short preview. It's a Saturday, the games are back-to-back, and I don't have a ton to say. It's going to be a short preview. So talk amongst yourselves. Tell each other what you need to know about the Rose-less Bulls.
    • Thibodeau vs. Rivers. Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau is credited as being the architect of the strong side pressure defense schemes that Rivers ran in Boston and is trying to implement with the Clippers. Thibodeau of course runs them himself with the Bulls, now in his fourth season as head coach. The big difference -- in Boston and Chicago, the defense was effect. So far in LA? Not so much.
    • Four games in five days. In addition to playing back-to-back, the Clippers are actually playing their fourth game in five days. And not to nitpick, but since they started the sequence playing night games and they're finishing with day games, it's really four games in less than five days. Did fatigue play a factor in the poor performance against Sacramento? If so, will it be an issue again today. The good news is that this is the only four-games-in-five-nights stretch the Clippers have this season.
    • Three point shooting. The Bulls are 28th in the NBA in three point attempts per game, and that's with Rose and Butler playing. They only have five players who actually take three pointers, so with the starting backcourt out of action, they're down to three. Keep a half an eye on Hinrich, Deng and Dunleavy, and that's pretty much all you have to worry about from deep.
    • Clippers-Bulls recent history. The Clippers have had very good success against Chicago over the last dozen seasons or so. In their last 25 meeting, the Clippers are 18-7 and they swept both games last season.
    • Connections. Jamal Crawford played his first four seasons in Chicago. Tom Thibodeau was an assistant for Doc Rivers for many seasons in Boston. Mike Dunleavy Jr. of the Bulls is the son of former Clippers head coach of the same name.
    • Get the Chicago perspective at Blog a Bull.
    • Shakespearean reference:

      Midsummer Night's Dream, Act IV, Scene 1, Theseus

      My hounds are bred out of the Spartan kind,
      So flew'd, so sanded, and their heads are hung
      With ears that sweep away the morning dew;
      Crook-knee'd, and dew-lapp'd like Thessalian bulls;
      Slow in pursuit, but match'd in mouth like bells,
      Each under each. A cry more tuneable
      Was never holla'd to, nor cheer'd with horn,
      In Crete, in Sparta, nor in Thessaly:
      Judge when you hear. But, soft! what nymphs are these?
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