LOS ANGELES, CA– Chicago Bulls (2-1) at Los Angeles Clippers (1-1)
Location: Staple Center, Los Angeles, CA
Time: 9:30PMCST/10:30PM EST
TV: WGN/NBA TV
Radio: ESPN 1000
Announcers: Neil Funk, Stacey King
Line: Bulls by 2
Injury Report/Inactives: CHICAGO — No Injuries Reported
LOS ANGELES — PF Reggie Evans (Day-to-Day)
Key Matchup: Derrick Rose vs. Chris Paul
Last Game: Bulls beat Kings 108-98, Clippers lost to Spurs 115-90
Last Meeting: February 2, 2011 — Bulls 106, Clippers 88
Series History (Since 2002-03): Clippers lead series 12-6
Last Minute Preview: With Chicago rebounding nicely against the Kings last night, they will look to improve that streak and post their first back-to-back wins of the season. They failed to do so against the Lakers and Warriors but Chicago is feeling confident in heading back to the place it all started and wrapping up this west coast road trip the way it began.
Derrick Rose will finish up the stretch facing one of the best point guards in the league in Chris Paul. This was a matchup that was all but done as a Christmas Day treat, but after all the drama, we had to wait three games before another Paul-Rose duel. The odds are in the MVP’s favor as Rose has yet to lose to Paul in his career. This will be the only time they matchup this year barring some absolutely bizarre trade of Paul to the Eastern Conference. But as the Lakers will tell you stranger things have happened.
The Rose-Paul duel will be the marquee matchup up, but the entire game is a who’s who of up and comers. For one of the few times this season, it will be the Bulls looking down at the younger team still gelling together. But like the Bulls the Clippers have the potential to be special if they gel properly. Blake Griffin is only getting better and with Paul in town now, his superstar stock is through the roof more so then it already was. Even DeAndre Jordan is a budding piece of a potential championship puzzle in LA, but he’s perhaps the weakest link as well. As we saw against Golden State, the Clippers big man can’t shoot free throws. Warriors head coach Mark Jackson brilliantly fouled Jordan, sending him to the line to throw up boulders and the Warriors actually came back because of that.
The reason the Clippers won opening night though was because of Chris Paul, who on three straight possessions scored points. The Bulls defense struggled last night against the Kings at times and that was against the tandem of Tyreke Evans and Marcus Thornton. Paul is one of the best players in the NBA and with his explosiveness the Bulls better not give the Clippers too much breathing room because like Rose can for Chicago, Paul can close out great teams all by himself.
Prediction: Bulls 98, Clippers 94