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Clippers-Bulls Preview: A Matador Matinee

Despite missing their own bull in the china shop, the Clippers continue to rack up solid victories while flying under the radar. After dealing longtime rival Memphis their worst home loss of the year, Los Angeles seeks to avenge their own, tackling a Rose-less Bulls squad who thoroughly whooped them back in November.

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
2014-2015 NBA Regular Season

March 1st, 2015, 10:00 AM PST
United Center, Chicago, IL
TV: ABC — Radio: The Beast 980 AM/1330 AM KWKW/ESPN Radio
Win-Loss Breakdown
13-11 East 21-13
25-10 West 16-9
23-8 Home 18-12
15-13 Road 19-10
16-17 .500+ 17-11
22-4 .500- 20-11
5-5 L10 7-3
Probable Starters
Chris Paul PG Aaron Brooks
J. J. Redick SG Jimmy Butler
Matt Barnes SF Mike Dunleavy, Jr.
Spencer Hawes PF Pau Gasol
DeAndre Jordan C Joakim Noah
Advanced Stats
96.7 (11th) Pace 95.5 (22nd)
110.1 (1st) ORtg 105.2 (9th)
103.7 (16th) DRtg 101.6 (12th)
Blake Griffin (elbow) — out
Taj Gibson (ankle) — doubtful

Pau Gasol (illness) — questiomable

Derrick Rose (meniscus) — out

Bulls lead 2014-2015 season series over Clippers; 1-0
Clips Nation
Los Angeles
Bulls 105, Clippers 89
Box Score

While Blake Griffin continues to rehab at home in Los Angeles, his teammates continue to take on the Gauntlet without him. Only two more weeks of nonstop elite opponents remain, eight more games for the Clippers to slug their way through before a much smoother sked heading into the playoffs. Despite dropping close games to Memphis and Houston, the Clippers are in fairly good shape in the Western Conference, as they're managed to eke out a 5-3 record in Blake Griffin's absence.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Bulls were hit hard recently with news of yet another knee injury to former MVP Derrick Rose. Fortunately, reports indicate that after a surgery to remove his meniscus, Rose will return to play this season (EDIT: Raffo informs me that the procedure was a partial meniscectomy, which does not imply a full removal — here, only part of the medial meniscus was removed after a partial tear). Despite a continuous string of injuries this season, Chicago has still managed to remain at the top of the standings, now tied for the second seed in the Eastern Conference (only a full ten games behind Atlanta).

The Clippers will have to deal with Chicago's size advantage on the wings, with Redick guarding one of Jimmy Butler or Mike Dunleavy, Jr., and lanky Tony Snell coming off the Bulls bench too. Like the Clippers, the Bulls are also dealing with injuries to their bigs; Taj Gibson went down with an ankle injury Friday night vs. Minnesota, and Pau Gasol missed that game with an illness that reportedly won't prevent him from playing today.

Despite a decisive thumping in Los Angeles in November, the Clippers have a pretty good history vs. the Bulls, especially on the road. Over the past decade, no team has been as successful at the United Center as the Clippers, who have an 8-1 record there since the '05 season.

DeAndre Jordan will need to continue to maintain his dominant level of play against Chicago's bigs, which include reigning DPOY Joakim Noah. Since Blake Griffin's injury, Jordan has been averaging 18.4 points and 19.7 rebounds, monstrous stats that haven't just been accumulated over weaker front lines.

Expect the Clippers to play in their sleeved baby blues for this Sunday tilt, the first ABC game since a smackdown in Oklahoma City during their four-game losing streak. The Clippers will be a regular fixture on ABC going forward too, with nationally televised matinees against Golden State and Houston the next two Sundays.

Get the Chicago perspective at Blog a Bull.