The Bulls came into Friday night’s matchup against the Clippers having won three straight games and nine of their last 11. After the 112-95 loss, Tom Thibodeau’s squad came out of the night realizing they can’t compete with the upper echelon of the Western Conference.
“I don’t think any aspect of our defense was any good,” Thibodeau said. “You’re chasing your tail the whole game.”
The head coach was spot on; The Bulls decided to leave their defense on the bench to start the game.
The Clippers turned on the jets from the opening tip-off, leading 41-26 after a quarter of play, and there was nothing the Bulls could do to stop the fast-paced attack. DeAndre Jordan, who made the crowd go silent at times with his dunks, finished with 10 points and 12 assists.
The matchup worth watching was Joakim Noah against Blake Griffin. The two big men battled it out in the low post and were physical with each other as well.
Noah and Griffin also showed off an additional offensive talent, besides their graceful jump shots, which fans have seen on display all season long. Both players put up seven assists apiece. Noah is averaging 3.9 assists on the season; just below his career-best four assists per game last year.
The Bulls offense was not the problem in the loss to the Clippers.
“I love the way we’re playing offensively,” Thibodeau said. “I think the ball is moving.”
D.J Augustin has done a terrific job distributing the basketball to his teammates, especially to Carlos Boozer. Boozer scored 22 points, mainly off of the pick-and-pop and pick-and-roll. The big man and Derron Williams were famously known for running these sets in Utah, so it’s not a shocker Thibodeau has gone back to this game plan with the pass-first point guard now in town.
Jimmy Butler, who posted nine points and shot 3-for-15 from the field, will join the rest of his team against Charlotte Saturday night. The Bulls need a better offensive performance from Butler, and defensively from the rest of the bunch, to beat the Bobcats on a back to back.