The debate about who would step up the most in
Marten is a
This is how
Paul was Marten's pick for the hassle of the game, her handwritten message complete with a heart after the Clippers' 96-86 victory over the
Paul and Jordan have been finding themselves in delightfully sticky situations a lot lately.
They have helped the Clippers go 6-3 without Griffin, the All-Star forward who could return in about a week from the staph infection in his right elbow that required surgical removal last month.
Jordan snagged 26 rebounds to go with nine points against the Bulls and Paul collected 28 points and 12 assists along with shoulder-bumps of teammates
"It's all about being a team," Paul said. "Everybody plays a role and that's what we're trying to do."
It was the eighth consecutive game with at least 15 rebounds for Jordan, tying the franchise record shared by Michael Cage and Bob McAdoo.
Jordan also played lockdown defense on
"He's clearly the defensive player of the year," Clippers Coach
An under-the-weather Gasol played as if his mind was elsewhere, airballing a 22-foot jumper in the early going. It was an ongoing issue for the injury-depleted Bulls, whose players not named
Mirotic made 11 of 23 on the way to a career-high 29 points. The rookie scored 16 of Chicago's 17 fourth-quarter points, and it still wasn't enough.
The Bulls were within five points with 4:47 left when Clippers forward
"It's hustle, man," said Barnes, who finished with a game-high four blocks. "I'm a football player at heart, so I've always grown up knowing you have to play through stuff."
The Bulls started the game without Derrick Rose (knee) and
The Clippers pulled away with a 14-4 push midway through the fourth quarter, with
Chicago couldn't even get that part of its game right. The Bulls failed to hack Jordan after
Statistics can be misleading, but Paul's and Jordan's numbers tell the story of the Clippers' success during the three weeks Griffin has been sidelined. Jordan has averaged 19.3 rebounds and 16.2 points per game, Paul 20.7 points and 12.4 assists.
"Chris is leading us, he's picking his spots when to be aggressive, when to get guys shots," Crawford said, "and DeAndre is a constant on defense and on offense. He's just finding his way into double figures every single night."
Who has been the Clippers' most valuable player recently?
As their massage therapist knows, it's a question with a two-part answer.