Chicago Bulls at Los Angeles Clippers
7:30 p.m. PT
NBA TV and Prime Ticket
KFWB 980 AM
1. What happened in San Antonio?!
Breene Murphy: Bad Clipper defense with the lion’s share of the blame heaped on Blake, Chauncey, Caron and Vinny. Blake needs to provide better effort, Chauncey had no chance against Manu and Caron helped off Jefferson too much. Vinny, though, needed a halftime adjustment to get the Clips to close out on the Spurs corner threes, shouldn’t he know that?
Also, Chris Paul needs to own the offense, because when he’s passive, the Clips take far too many long twos.
Nick Flynt: Offensively, things were pretty fine until garbage time. The Clippers drew fouls and hit open shots while Blake did some work in the post. Defensively, overhelp allowed the Spurs to swing the ball for easy, open 3s or open mid-range baskets; on top of that, Ginobili couldn’t be contained all game. To top it off, Mo Williams’s one-on-one defense against Tony Parker late in the game was only made to look worse by mediocre pick-and-roll D from Blake.
Mark Shore: What always happens in San Antonio. The Clippers are a team still trying to figure it out while the Spurs have had their nucleus together for a decade. To be frank, the Clippers were awkward on offense and pretty terrible defensively. VDN has a lot of work ahead of him trying to put the pieces together.
2. Over the next five years: Chris Paul or Derrick Rose?
Breene Murphy: Draw. Chris Paul will be better for the next couple years with ideal PnR partner Blake and other complementary players, but small guards wear down and I think that Rose’s game will evolve into something even more lethal than it already is.
Nick Flynt: Chris Paul. One-time knee injury or no, Chris Paul has a smooth jumper, excellent court vision, and what should be plenty of surrounding talent. Derrick Rose will continue to function as a talented scorer, but I don’t think he’ll ever develop the all-around offensive game (nor add high-level defensive playmaking ability, which not even Paul has) to allow him to overtake Paul.
Mark Shore: You can’t go wrong either way, but for argument’s sake I’ll take Derrick Rose. Whether or not you think he deserved it, Rose became the youngest MVP in league history last season and spent the summer working on the parts of his game that needed improvement. There’s also something to be said about continuity and how it affects the growth of a young player.
3. Fact or Fiction: The Clippers will have a winning record on Saturday morning.
Breene Murphy: Fact. The Bulls have had a heavy first week workload, and the Clippers should get a boost coming home, especially fresh off the Spurs whooping.
Nick Flynt: Fact. The Clippers’ ability to limit turnovers on offense while (most likely) matching the Bulls’ rebounding should combine with the ability to defensively limit a currently one-dimensional Bulls offense to get the Clips a win against Chicago on Friday night.
Mark Shore: Fiction. The Bulls are trying to work with one new piece (Rip Hamilton) while the Clippers are dealing with a complete overhaul of their roster. Both teams are struggling offensively early in the season but Chicago has arguably the best defense in the league. If they played at the end of the season (after the Clippers have had time to gel) the outcome may be different.