The Los Angeles Clippers set the tone from the opening tip, and rode that impressive wave to a dominant, 112-95 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Friday night.
Playing against one of the stingiest defenses in the league, the Clippers blitzed to 41 points in the 1st quarter in mounting a 15-point lead, and while they played virtually even for the final 36 minutes, the damage was done. Los Angeles was, once again, playing without Chris Paul, but they had plenty of firepower against the equally shorthanded Bulls.
All-Star forward Blake Griffin led the way with 26 points (on 11-of-18 shooting), 13 rebounds, and 7 assists, and he was excellent throughout. In support of Griffin, the Clips also received a double-double from DeAndre Jordan (10 points, 12 rebounds), while Jamal Crawford added his trademark punch of the bench with 19 points. Still, it was the starting backcourt that was the most crucial for LAC, as Darren Collison played steadily with 17 points and 4 assists in 29 minutes, while JJ Redick shot the lights out, making 4 threes in route to 18 points.
The Bulls were actually quite competitive offensively, led by 40 combined points from their power forward duo of Taj Gibson and Carlos Boozer, but it was far from enough. Chicago’s defense failed to even slow down LA at any point, and in the end, the Clips shot 54% from the field and a blistering 13-of-19 (62%) from the 3-point line.
Sometimes, you just run into a buzzsaw, and there was a clear example of that in Chicago, even when that buzzsaw is represented by the road team.