The Chicago Bulls were in STAPLES Center Saturday night to take on the LA Clippers – and with the Clippers on the second night of a back-to-back, the Bulls jumped on them early, leading by as many as 19 points mid-2nd quarter. They were up 51-39 with 2:00 left in the 2nd quarter when this happened:
— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) November 20, 2016
From that point on, including the top-five POSTERIZATION, the Clippers outscored the Bulls by 19 points to complete a comeback and retain the belt for best record in the NBA for another couple of days.
The Bulls had a 33-23 lead over the Clippers at the end of the 1st quarter, with Bulls PF Taj Gibson making all 4 FG attempts in the opening period. Bulls SG Dwyane Wade, who already has made more threes this season than all of last season, scorched the Clippers early by making his first 4 threes of the game. Wade had 18 of his game-high 28 points by 7:19 left in the 2nd quarter with the Bulls leading 45-26.
Over the last 31 minutes of the game, though, the Clippers outscored the Bulls 76-50, holding the Bulls to 29.2 percent shooting from the field. Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and Marreese Speights scored 50 of those 76 points on 15-of-25 FGs (60 percent) over that extended stretch.
When Wade made his 5th three of the game with 6:31 left in the 4th quarter, the Bulls had an 85-84 lead. It would be their last lead of the night. Doc Rivers went with Speights, Austin Rivers, and Jamal Crawford for most of the 4th quarter instead of starters DeAndre Jordan, J.J. Redick, and Luc Mbah a Moute. The result was the Clippers outscoring the Bulls 13-7 between 6:30 and :50 left in the 4th quarter, a stretch that saw the Bulls go 0-for-7 from the field.
A controversial moment in this game came after Bulls backup SG Isaiah Canaan made a three to close the Clippers lead to 97-95 with :44 left. Out of a timeout, the Clippers managed to get Bulls SF Jimmy Butler switched onto Griffin, who was jammed up late in the clock. Just as the shot clock expired, Griffin drew a foul on Butler and made his 9th and 10th FTs of the game without a miss. Griffin finished with a team-high 26 points on 8-of-15 FGs (53.3 percent) and 10-of-10 from the line, marking only the 2nd time in his career that Griffin attempted at least 10 FTs and made them all.
After Wade missed a three on Chicago’s last possession of the night, Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg was ejected, allowing Redick to ice the game with 3 more FTs. No team in the league has played more games than the Clippers have since October 30 (13), but no team has won more games either (11). As previously mentioned, the Clippers won’t have two days off until December 5-6.
““Mentally it’s not hard, because you are never turned off,” Redick said after the game. “Sometimes when you have those long breaks in the middle of the season, you may turn yourself off. Physically, it’s a little tougher. Last night, I looked at my phone at the end of the game and it was 10:33. I was expecting to be home in my bed by midnight, but we didn’t land until well after one in the morning. Those are the type of things that make it hard on us.”