The Los Angeles Clippers (8-4) took care of business against the Timberwolves to start the weekend, but they have a tougher task on Sunday. Hopefully, the Paul George and the rest of the Clippers starters got enough rest to take on the 8-4 Bulls.
Clippers vs. Bulls Game Information
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
When: 6:30 p.m. PT
How to Tune in: Bally Sports SoCal, NBA League Pass, AM 570
Projected Starting Lineups
LA Clippers: Reggie Jackson – Eric Bledsoe – Paul George – Nicolas Batum – Ivica Zubac
Chicago Bulls: Lonzo Ball – Zach LaVine – DeMar DeRozan – Javonte Green – Tony Bradley
L.A. Clippers: OUT: Kawhi Leonard (right knee); Marcus Morris, Sr. (left knee); Jason Preston (right foot); Brandon Boston, Jr. (G League Assignment), Serge Ibaka (G League Assignment); Keon Johnson (left ankle)
Chicago Bulls: OUT: Nikola Vucevic (Health & Safety Protocols); Coby White (shoulder)
The Big Picture
The Clippers, as recapped on this site, blew out the Minnesota Timberwolves last night, which meant none of the starters played more than 28 minutes. This extra bit of rest could prove important, as coach Ty Lue will likely return to his largely eight-man rotation against the Bulls.
Another data point moving in the Clippers’ favor is the slow build of Eric Bledose. Bledsoe had an efficient 14 points against the T’Wolves last night along with nine assists and, perhaps more importantly, he looks more integrated into the Clippers’ system. Against the Bulls, the LA will need Bledsoe to attack Chicago’s guards and fight through screens on defense.
Finally, although the Bulls will have a rest advantage, the Bulls are in the middle of a road trip, having just played the Golden State Warriors on Friday. They will also be without Nikola Vucevic, who entered COVID Protocols earlier this week.
While the Clippers are on an impressive seven game winning streak, it should be noted that they are “getting fat” on one of the easier parts of their schedule (as they should). They’ve played the Timberwolves three times over this stretch, along with the struggling Trail Blazers and the Hornets and Heat on road trips. This matchup with the Bulls will be the Clippers’ toughest game since the Cavaliers.
The Bulls are also a good defensive team. They keep their opponents under 40% from three and average five more rebounds a game than the Clippers. This makes sense, given that Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso are often tracking opposing scorers. If the Clippers have an off shooting night, expect the Bulls to capitalize.
Clippers vs. Bulls Game Notes:
- The Leadership of Paul George: Even though Paul George did not have a standout game, his leadership was subtle but forceful nonetheless. After having just nine points in the first half on Saturday, PG turned it on in the third, finishing with 23 points. Clippers teams of the past might have fooled around and let the T’Wolves get back into it, but PG did not let that happen. What’s more, he’s been the provider of good vibes all season. Case in point, he turned around Reggie Jackson’s slow start to the season with just one hug.
- Encouraging Sign from Justise Winslow: Justise is right at the cutoff for the main rotation and likely won’t see much action once Morris and Ibaka are fully healthy. And he has not exactly done himself too many favors thus far, frankly. But, of late, he’s shown some of his rebounding and passing ability. It would be great to see Justise earn minutes so the Clippers can see what they can expect next season, in the last year of his deal.
That does it for our Clippers-Bulls preview. Check out the site and our podcast for more news and analysis.