Nothing really went well for the Clippers tonight. The defense seemed disjointed and whatever good happened on offense felt like luck. It was the mirror opposite for Chicago - I can't really single out one star for them tonight, as every Bull not named Doug McDermott had a great night.
The game opened with Blake scoring 10 of the Clippers first 12 points. However, all his buckets came on jump shots. The Clippers, as a whole, seemed hesitant to cut to the basket - save one regretful lay-up attempt by Reggie Bullock when matched-up on Mike Dunleavy.
The second quarter saw the Clippers take a 14-point lead on a heavy dose of Jamalball that featured two and-1s; one of which took three bounces to fall. Crawford also had a great drive-and-kick to Spencer Hawes for 3. Hawes and Crawford combined for the bulk of the points (and positivity) in the quarter. The Clippers were making their buckets but there was a bad feeling as they continually settled for jump shots.
Chicago bulled their way back into the game with lock down defense an opportunistic play, the epitome of which was summed up in the final seconds of the half. The Bulls score with just ticks of the clock remaining and, the following inbounds play, Jimmy Butler steals the ball from Jamal and shoots it. Not only does Butler make the shot, he was fouled by Crawford and completes the three-point play. It was just that kind of night.
The second half started at a a much more energetic pace but Chicago was in control of the game. Kirk Henrich threw a great lob to Butler for an emphatic dunk. This was immediately followed by a smaller lob from Blake to DeAndre Jordan. But soon into the third quarter, the writing was on the wall. The Bulls began to pull away thanks to lockdown defense that held the Clippers to just 14 points in the period. It also didn't hurt that Kirk Hinrich had 3 triples.
The Clippers defense didn't do much to help their own cause. The rotations looked terrible as rarely was anyone there to cover for DJ. Even when DJ was in the post, it wasn't much better. With five minutes left in the 3rd, Taj Gibson did a minor head fake that had DJ ten feet in the air, Gibson spun under him for the easy basket.
The fourth quarter started with the Bulls scoring and the Clippers turning it over, like I said, just one of those nights. The Bulls stretched the lead to 18 with stellar all-around play. The Clippers made it interesting near the end of the game with a 12 -2 run that cut the deficit to 8. But, cue the Price is Right music, Crawford was called for an offensive foul that was dubious, at best. Seconds after that, Crawford was called for a foul on Butler. Jimmy Butler really handed it to Crawford and Redick in the 4th.
With 3:01 remaining and the score at 95-87, Dunleavy hits a 3 and it feels like doom. Just moments later he hits another 3 that invokes Lawler's Law and that was the dagger.
I can't lie, I was jealous of how good the Bulls looked playing as a team. The Clippers were downright outclassed tonight. I do not have a good feeling about this road trip.
With the loss, the Clippers fall to 5-4 (4-3 at home). I've got a sinking feeling they will be coming home from this 7-game roadie with a losing record. I hope I'm wrong. I also hope the next recap I write is a win...