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NBA -- Fourth quarter surge lifts Clippers past Bulls


PhilBoxing.com




CHICAGO -- The Los Angeles Clippers held the Chicago Bulls to 10 points in the final 8:48 of play to score a hard-fought 96-86 victory on Sunday afternoon at the United Center.

It was the Clips' fifth straight win at the Bulls' home floor and their ninth in 10 tries.

Chris Paul and Jamal Crawford finished with 28 and 16 points, respectively, to power the Clipers offense, but it was DeAndre Jordan who did most of the heavy lifting, grabbing 26 rebounds to go with his nine points.

Despite his and Jordan's individual brilliance, Paul, who also dished 12 dimes, said beating Chicago required a group effort. "It's all about being a team. Everybody plays a role and that's what we're trying to do," said the All-Star point guard.

Indeed, the Clips proved be more balanced and more efficient, shooting 43.7 percent from the field while getting valuable contributions from Spencer Hawes and J.J. Redick, who combined for 26 points.
Nikola Mirotic spearheaded the Bulls with 29 points, including 16 of his team's 17 fourth-quarter points, but Chicago didn't have enough firepower as Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson sat out with injuries while Jimmy Butler left at the 9"24 mark of the third quarter after suffering a sprained left elbow.

"I don't really care about 29 points. We didn't win. Tough game for us. Without Jimmy, somebody needs to shoot the ball. I made some shots but I feel bad because my team lost," Mirotic said.

After yet another slow start, the Bulls fell behind early, 22-11. They closed the gap 43-41 at halftime and knotted the count at 69-69 entering the final 12 minutes. But in the end, the Bulls made only 27 of 87 field goals and 10 of 26 triples. They also missed eight of 30 free throws.

"We just have to find a way to win. That game was winnable down the stretch. We didn't get it done," Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau told reporters during his post-game press conference.

The win improved the Clippers' record to 39-21, which puts them in fifth place in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls fell back to third place in the Eastern Conference with a 37-23 card. (HDS)

Photo: DeAndre Jordan's dominance off the boards (26 rebounds to go with nine points) helped the Clippers outlast the Bulls, 96-86, on Sunday afternoon at the United Center.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Homer D. Sayson.


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