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Clippers put on a show, Bulls play defense and get victory

Dec 31, 2011, 2:17 AM EDT

Chicago Bulls' Rose tosses the ball in front of Los Angeles Clippers' Paul after the Bulls turned the ball over during their NBA basketball game in Los Angeles Reuters

The Clippers are pure Los Angeles now — entertainment with some basketball thrown in as a bonus.

The Clippers are a show and Staples Center was filled and buzzing like a movie premiere — people want to see Chris Paul throwing lobs to Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. They wanted and got Derrick Rose vs. CP3. This is L.A. where everybody flocks to the hot new thing and the Clippers are that.

The team didn’t disappoint, starting with the first play when Joakim Noah slipped and Blake Griffin flew past him to throw down the crushing dunk. The video board was busy all night with replays of monster plays at the rim.

And when the dust settled, the Chicago Bulls had the win 114-101. Because they are the better team.

“Our defense and our rebounding is an issue,” Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said after the game. “We’re giving up too many points right now.”

That may be an understatement — the Clippers are a ways from being a good defensive team. The Clippers are quite a show, their athleticism can be overwhelming, but they remain a work in progress. Particularly on defense. Their execution isn’t good enough on either end, they lack enough depth on the roster (particularly inside), the chemistry between Griffin in Paul is starting to marinate but is along way from where it can and needs to be. The Clippers are a team of potential trying to figure out who they are.

On the other hand the Bulls know exactly who they are, and they have their chemistry down. In the fourth quarter they just kept going at an elbow pick-and-roll with Rose and Carlos Boozer and the Clippers couldn’t stop it. When L.A. collapsed in to stop Rose’s drives he knew Ronnie Brewer and Kyle Korver would be there for the weakside corner three (there were three of those in the fourth quarter). The Clippers didn’t know how to stop it. Plus, Rose did some of those Rose-like things in the lane nobody can stop. He’s a good show himself.

Rose is especially dangerous when he can step back off a high screen and drain a three, something he did twice in the fourth. Rose finished with 29 points (on 14 shots) plus 16 assists. He bested Paul, who himself was impressive with 15 points and 14 assists. The two had a duel going in the second half that Rose described as “fun.” Paul several times drove into the strong-side Tom Thibodeau defense, drew everyone in and found shooters lurking on the weak side.

But while the Bulls did that under pressure late, the Clippers offense stagnated into more isolation or pick-and-rolls without much movement.

The Clippers are where the Bulls were a couple years ago, where Oklahoma City was a couple years ago. This team has the potential to be contenders, but they need to learn to defend, they need to develop chemistry, the front office needs to fill in a few roster holes.

That has already happened in Chicago. They know who and what they are — they are contenders, not just another show.

  1. liltmac2003 - Dec 31, 2011 at 3:10 AM

    I actually had the time to catch this game entirely, and Blake Griffen was right…it was Lob City.

    Unfortunately, defense doesn’t exist in that City (minus Jordan) and I’m pretty sure Rose is leading elections for mayor.

    • thatboi901 - Dec 31, 2011 at 1:28 PM

      Even then there is more to defense than blocks. Many times Jordan went for the block end up being out of position and giving up an offensive rebound or an easy basket.

  2. p1nch3dloaf - Dec 31, 2011 at 3:17 AM

    haha…love the picture of Rose getting under CP3’s skin by nonchalantly flicking the ball back to CP3, whose screaming his head off for the ball.

    • p1nch3dloaf - Dec 31, 2011 at 3:22 AM


  3. opshuns - Dec 31, 2011 at 1:21 PM

    Clippers should have gotten Battier than Butler…

    • brooklynbulls - Dec 31, 2011 at 2:26 PM

      Not so upset we lost out in the Butler-stakes, Rip has been nice.
      @ liltmac, must admit the lob city was getting under my skin until I eventually saw the paint begin to open up for DRose. The Clips overextended on the spectacular play while being ineffective on some of the basics.
      If the Clips get the fundamentals together (which they should with CP3), along with their crazy athleticism this team is gonna be scary. Blake is a beast and they have alot of nice pieces. That game was worth staying up all night for.

  4. mistercharitystripe34 - Jan 1, 2012 at 2:37 AM

    That was a great game on Friday night. Chris Paul played very well as LA’s floor general, Blake Griffin had a monster night and effort, but Derrick Rose stole the show with an excellent performance on both sides of the ball. His defense has improved greatly since two years ago. They started using continuous screens with Griffin and Jordan to free up CP3.

  5. chitownbulls - Jan 1, 2012 at 11:37 AM

    That was the smartest game I’ve seen Derrick play… Even better than his 30pt. 17ast outing against the Buck’s last season. He’s paying attention to even more detail this season, which is scary for the opposition.


  6. comeonnowguys - Jan 1, 2012 at 11:41 PM

    Griffin (and his team) was burned a few times by his lobbying for calls. “Don’t you know I’m a spokesman for Subway and Kia?”

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