Clippers’ Blake Griffin saves his best for the best
The Clippers have won five consecutive games by using back-to-back losses as fuel.
They took down another of the NBA’s better teams, beating the Chicago Bulls, 101-80, Saturday night at Staples Center.
Blake Griffin, one of the players still harping on the losses to the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers from almost two weeks ago, had a double-double with 26 points and 10 rebounds.
Griffin scored eight straight points after the Bulls closed to within 13 points in the fourth.
The most impressive thing about Griffin’s run was his making three consecutive jumpers.
Chris Paul, who had eight points and 10 assists, was so proud of Griffin making those jumpers that he said, “I felt like I made them.”
Paul said he implored Griffin to shoot a jumper earlier in the game, but the 6-10 power forward refused.
“I get on him the most about not shooting it, because he works on it so much in practice day in and day out that we have the confidence in him,” Paul said. “He can do it and we need him to do it. Once he develops that, which he has already done and he keeps gaining more and more confident, he becomes unguardable.”
The Clippers knew they would have to work for all their points.
After all, the Bulls are one of the better defensive teams in the NBA, allowing just 92.38 points per game, ranking them fifth best. They limit teams to just 42.8% shooting, seventh best in the league.
But for the most part, the Clippers worked over the Bulls’ defense, shooting 49.3% from the field, building a 23-point lead.
Things went so well for the Clippers that even Lamar Odom made a basket, a three-pointer that pushed L.A.'s lead back up to 20 points in the fourth quarter.
He teammates leaped off the bench after Odom scored, all of them obviously aware that Odom had scored a single point in the previous four games. Odom finished with three points, five rebounds and one assist in 15 minutes.
As it turned out, the Clippers were the ones holding it down on defense.
They limited the Bulls to 33.7% shooting, 14.3% from the three-point range.
They blocked 10 of the Bulls’ shots, center DeAndre Jordan coming up with seven blocks.
They had 10 steals, three by Paul.
The Clippers are the fifth-worst rebounding team in the NBA, grabbing just 39.13 per game, an issue they maintained they must address.
At one point, after the Bulls grabbed three consecutive offensive rebounds that finally led to a basket, Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro was on the sideline holding his arms up, yelling at his players to get a rebound.
The Clippers were outrebounded, 45-41. They allowed 21 offensive rebounds.
“We should be a better rebounding team than we are,” Del Negro said. “There’s no question about it. We can’t give up the offensive rebounding that we are right now and expect to win at a high level. We have to clean that up.”
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