The LA Clippers fought hard, but ran out of gas against the Chicago Bulls on Sunday night, ending their seven-game winning streak. Despite poor shooting and huge games from DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine, the Clippers briefly held a fourth quarter lead. Alas, the Bulls pulled back ahead, winning 100-90. Check out our full recap of the Clippers’ loss to the Bulls below.
In the first quarter, Clippers looked like a team on the second day of a back-to-back. The Bulls ended the frame with a 13 point lead but it frankly could have been worse. DeRozan had 12 of the Bulls’ 30 points and previewed the night he was heading towards. The Clippers’ meager 17 points were a result of 33% shooting and 10 ghastly turnovers.
Eventually, though, Paul George found a way to manufacture offense — mostly at the free throw line, where he was 8/8 through two quarters (6/6 in the second quarter). Other than George, the next highest Clipper scorer was Eric Bledose, who had six. DeRozan kept terrorizing the Clippers in the midrange: He had 21 points on 8/10 shooting by halftime (and only shot one three pointer, which he made). Nonetheless, the Clippers were down just nine as they headed into the locker room (54-45).
The Clippers won the third quarter by three points, and were within a possession of tying the game at one point. Part of the Clippers comeback was better shooting and more intensity on defense but the Bulls also came back to earth — shooting only 30% in the third quarter.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Clippers finally got over the hump, briefly holding a one point lead. Unfortunately, the Bulls responded with a nine point run, to which the Clippers could not respond. And the seven-game win streak ended there, pushing the Clippers to 8-5.
- Fatigue + Short Rotation = Running out of gas: Head Coach Ty Lue only played played eight guys tonight (technically nine, but Amir Coffey only checked in for nineteen seconds). After the game, Ty took the blame for the loss, admitting he overplayed some of his rotation. PG played 41 minutes, Bledsoe, Batum, Reggie had 35 each, and Mann was not far off with 32 of his own. The Clippers next play on Tuesday, so hopefully they can get some recovery in tonight and tomorrow.
- Poor Shooting All-Around: As a team, the Clippers only shot 35% from the field (32% from three). Eric Bledsoe, of all people, was the most efficient, shooting 50% from the field and from three. The Clippers did themselves a favor by continuing to drive downhill when the threes weren’t going in to get to the line, but ran out of steam in the last quarter, settling for threes. Going forward, however, they will need to figure out what to do when shots aren’t falling.
That just about does it for our recap of the Clippers’ loss to the Bulls. Time to start another streak! Check out the site and our podcast for more news and analysis.