Clippers will take win over Bulls after putting forth a lackluster effort

Doc Rivers leaned against a wall outside of the Clippers’ locker room and sighed.

“Well, we won. That’s all I’ll say [about] that one,” the Clippers coach said.

His team was a listless group for so much of Tuesday night’s 112-106 victory over the going-nowhere Chicago Bulls at the United Center before 20,912 fans.

The Clippers lacked energy and their defense was suspect.


At one point the Clippers trailed by eight points in the second quarter. Their defense let the Bulls make 58.3% of their shots in the second quarter, 51.9% by the half.

“We haven’t done this a lot,” Rivers said. “We just felt like it was one of those games where guys struggled a little bit offensively and they let it affect them on the defensive end. I think they felt they were going to win anyway. We’re not good enough to do that, but we did it tonight and got away with it.”

DeAndre Jordan did his share to make sure the Clippers began their three-game trip with a win.

He was a monster on the backboards again, collecting 18 rebounds. He was a force on offense, producing a game-high 29 points on 11-for-12 shooting.

He also had five assists.

“He was great,” Rivers said about Jordan. “They were going to trap. We told them that before the game and we told them, ‘If they trap, DJ you roll and let’s keeping finding him.’ I think that’s the one thing we did well. In the game plan, we kept finding DJ rolling down the middle of the paint and he finished for us.”

Lou Williams was steady again, scoring 26 points and handing out five assists. He earned 14 of his points at the free-throw line, missing just one of his 14 attempts.

Tobias Harris contributed 18 points.

But the Clippers never were able to get solid footing in this game.

They shot just 48.7% from the field, 27.6% from three-point range.

They were outrebounded 45-42, a clear sign of the low energy the Clippers played with.

“The game was such a sour game for me. I don’t want to compliment anybody, including the coaching,” Rivers said. “It was just a bad game. But we won. That’s the good thing.”

This was a Bulls team that reportedly had been warned by the NBA about tanking and resting players.

And yet the Bulls held out rookie sensation Lauri Markkanen (back spasms), didn’t play starting center Robin Lopez after the first quarter and didn’t play Justin Holiday at all.

But the Bulls hustled and played hard and gave the Clippers all they could handle.

“We did enough to win,” Rivers said. “We’ll take it. It’s the first game of a road trip. But give the Bulls credit. I thought they played hard. We just didn’t have one of our better games. Didn’t have a lot of energy at all tonight – on either end, offensively or defensively. The last five minutes was brutal to watch. It really was.”

Follow Broderick Turner on Twitter @BA_Turner