Bulls 114, Clippers 101
LOS ANGELES — Winning two games in convincing fashion in the same building on different nights against similar teams is one way to have a road trip. The Bulls dominated the Clippers and finished their road trip two games above average and head home with their chins high. But tonight it wasn’t all Bulls, the Clippers, had they been playing another team, may have run them out of the building thanks to one man in particular.
OVERALL — F Blake Griffin (34pts, 13rebs, 3asts)
He’s not a Bulls, but it’s hard not to give Blake Griffin the game ball tonight. If there was a dominating performance, it was had by this man right here. 34 points for the young guy and he out played Chris Paul, the guy getting all the headlines. I said it before the season, said it before the game and I’ll say it again now: Blake’s already sky high superstar stock got even more valuable when Paul arrived and we saw why on Friday night against Chicago. Griffin’s performance was face melting and it gives Clippers fans a win in a way. Yes they lost the game record wise, but had this game been against anyone else in the league except maybe the Heat, Los Angeles runs the other guys out of the building and they do it riding Griffin’s shoulders. Dwight Howard isn’t a Laker yet and Griffin is letting everyone know that for now he’s the big man in L.A even with all the talent there on both teams.
OFFENSE — G Derrick Rose (29pts, 16asts, 8rebs)
Blake Griffin may have had the best night of both teams, but Derrick Rose had the more meaningful one. Bulls fans saw Rose play this type of a game to a MVP trophy last season and it’s great to see this level of play return from Rose. He shot just fourteen times in the game but amassed nearly 30 points. 8 of his fourteen shots were buckets and 3 of those were treys. Rose made the bulk of his points from the stripe where he nailed 10 of 11 free throw attempts. The fact that Rose finally had one of his best games this year is a great thing and worthy in of itself of a game ball. Rose had these games last year and it not only won him the MVP, it won the Bulls 62 games and won them acclaim as an elite team. One of his best qualities last season was his infectious attitude of winning and the Bulls latched onto that tonight because of his swagger. That will continue for the Bulls and so will the winning.
DEFENSE — C JOAKIM NOAH (19pts, 8rebs, 1stl, 1blk)
Noah is usually a defensive monster for the Bulls and tonight was no exception. Had he not finished with 5 personal fouls, Noah may very well have had a double-double tonight in what was a plethora of double-doubles. Derrick Rose, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin all had double-doubles and Noah finished two rebounds short. One thing that surprised folks about Noah’s performance was something that wasn’t defensive, it was offensive. No offense (or pun intended) to Noah, but the word offense isn’t thrown around him unless it’s preceded by a description of him stuffing it. Noah finished with 19 points and hit 71 percent form the field. In a word: wow. When Joakim Noah does that you know you’re having a really great night offensively. He also hist 9 of 10 free throws adding to his productive night. On the defensive end Noah gobbled up 8 rebounds, blocked a shot and earned a steal. His defense is a big reason this team is known as a force in that way and this performance, albeit a weird one, is one we should expect out of Noah in the future.