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Chicago Bulls vs. Los Angeles Clippers: Postgame Grades and Analysis

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Chicago Bulls vs. Los Angeles Clippers: Postgame Grades and Analysis
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The Los Angeles Clippers (10-5) blew away the Chicago Bulls (6-6), 121-82, with a wildly impressive offensive display that saw Doc Rivers' squad shoot 58.5 percent from the field, 38.1 percent from three and rack up 32 assists on 48 made field goals.  

Although the Bulls entered Sunday afternoon's contest holding opponents to 90.5 points per game, the Clippers poured in 65 first-half points and 96 over the first three quarters. 

Playing in their first game since it was announced that Derrick Rose had torn the meniscus in his left knee, the Bulls looked drained. The defensive intensity wasn't there, and, per usual, the offense wasn't dynamic. 

The Clippers were led by double-doubles from Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, as well as a combined 40 points from starting wings J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley. 

 

Key Player Grades

Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers, Point Guard

One day after seeing his 13-game double-double streak end, Chris Paul got back on track, dropping in 16 points and 17 assists in 27 minutes of work. 

After compiling nine assists against the Sacramento Kings, Paul exceeded that total in the first half on Sunday, dropping 10 dimes in 17 minutes. 

It was hardly Paul's most explosive performance, but it was one that proved how crucial he is to the success of the Clippers offense, as he set shooters up beautifully time and again while hitting on his patented pull-up jumpers around the free-throw line with ease. 

It's games like this that have made Paul a leading MVP candidate at this early stage in the season. 

Grade: A+

 

Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers, Power Forward

After failing to score a basket in the first quarter against the Kings on Saturday, Blake Griffin came out firing on all cylinders, scoring eight points on 4-of-6 shooting over the game's first 12 minutes.  

Griffin with the tough finish.

And as has come to be the norm, Griffin finished with a double-double, scoring 15 points and grabbing 12 rebounds while swatting three shots.

More importantly, though, was the fact that Griffin matched and exceeded Joakim Noah's energy as the two jockeyed for position on the blocks throughout.  

Working a beautiful two-man game with Paul on offense while carving up the Bulls defense in transition, Griffin reminded us that it's foolish to discount him as a versatile offensive talent. 

Grade: A-

 

J.J. Redick, Los Angeles Clippers, Shooting Guard

With a performance that epitomized the Clippers' offensive success, J.J. Redick was in a groove from the jump and didn't let up. 

Not only did Redick finish with 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting, but he scored a team-high 15 first-half points on nine shots while posting a team-high mark of plus-15 over the game's first 24 minutes. 

Scoring off-the-catch and creating room for himself to shoot off-the-dribble, every move in Redick's expansive offensive arsenal was on display in the win. 

Grade: A+

 

DeAndre Jordan, Los Angeles Clippers, Center

Simply put, DeAndre Jordan was a complete non-factor against the Bulls.

Although he pulled down seven rebounds and showed some hustle on the glass, Jordan was phased out of the offense entirely as a result of the Clippers' perimeter and mid-range success. 

Jordan finished with more personal fouls (four) than points (two). His first and only basket didn't come until the 3:41 mark of the third quarter, courtesy of a lob from Paul. 

Grade: C-

 

Jared Dudley, Los Angeles Clippers, Small Forward

Jared Dudley's first quarter was rather remarkable when you consider that his season-high for points in a game this season entering Sunday was 15. The Clips' starting small forward totaled two-thirds of that season-high, dropping in 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting (2-of-2) from three in the early going. 

Jared Dudley with the creative pass.

Dudley racked up 14 points in the first half (3-of-3 from three) and finished with a season-high 21 points on 8-of-10 shooting in his best offensive performance of the season to date.

A stern reminder to Western Conference contenders: If Dudley and Redick are clicking like this, the Clippers offense is nearly impossible to stop. 

Grade: A+ 

 

Jamal Crawford, Los Angeles Clippers, Shooting Guard

With the Bulls defense looking a step slow all afternoon long, Jamal Crawford took advantage, dropping in eight points on 4-of-11 shooting off the pine. 

Whether he was matched up against Tony Snell or Luol Deng, Crawford got it done off-the-bounce early, proving once again why he's the most important member of the Clippers' bench.

With L.A. in need of more off-the-dribble creators, consistent offensive output from Crawford is going to be crucial moving forward. 

Grade: B-

 

Bench, Los Angeles Clippers

The biggest surprise from a personnel standpoint for the Clippers on Sunday afternoon was that Antawn Jamison saw his first action of the season against the Bulls. 

After a sluggish start, Jamison picked up his production in the fourth quarter when the pressure was off and finished the game with 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting, including a three. 

Furthermore,  Darren Collison took advantage of a favorable matchup against Marquis Teague, who's now slated for a bump in playing time due to Rose's torn meniscus.  

Collison dropped in a bench-high 14 points in 21 minutes, but it was the starting five that really stole the show in a wire-to-wire victory. 

Grade: B+

 

Noah Graham/Getty Images

Luol Deng, Chicago Bulls, Small Forward

After leading the league in minutes per game last season, Luol Deng has hovered around 36.5 minutes of tick per night during the 2013-14 campaign. 

That number is set to increase with Rose out indefinitely, and that became apparent as the two-time All-Star logged a team-high 32 minutes in essentially three quarters of work, as Tom Thibodeau sat his starters for the majority of the fourth quarter. 

As has become the norm, Deng did it all for the Bulls, leading the team with 22 points (6-of-11 shooting, 9-of-13 from the line) while dishing out six assists and grabbing two rebounds. 

Grade: A-

 

Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls, Center

Matched up against a Clippers defense that has been forgiving on the interior this season, it was rather disappointing that Joakim Noah didn't take charge on either end of the floor. 

Noah managed eight points, four rebounds and two assists on the afternoon, and the Bulls were a team-worst minus-12 with Noah on the floor in the first half and minus-21 overall for the game. 

Grade: D

 

Carlos Boozer, Chicago Bulls, Power Forward

It's not a particularly encouraging statement, but it's hard to deny that Carlos Boozer is going to become an integral piece of the Bulls offense, much the way he was last season with Rose sidelined. 

The good news for Chicago is that Boozer has gotten off to a rock solid offensive start this season, averaging 16.2 points per game (the same total as last season) on 51.7 percent shooting. 

Against the Clippers, Boozer asserted himself early, scoring a team-high eight points in the first quarter and wound up finishing with 14 points on 6-of-13 shooting. 

Grade: B-

 

Mike Dunleavy, Chicago Bulls, Shooting Guard

Filling in for the injured Jimmy Butler, Mike Dunleavy earned the start at shooting guard for the third straight game on Sunday. 

And while he hardly lit it up, Dunleavy did a nice job spotting up and knocking down threes on the wings to the tune of 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field (2-of-4 from three). 

The consistency was there all game long from Dunleavy on the offensive end, but he was unable to stick with the Clippers' dynamite wing tandem on defense, one of several reasons why the Bulls were blown out. 

Grade: B

 

Kirk Hinrich, Chicago Bulls, Point Guard, 

After starting 60 games last season in place of the injured Derrick Rose, Kirk Hinrich stepped back into a familiar role on Sunday afternoon against the Los Angeles Clippers.  

Hinrich was steady but hardly spectacular running Chicago's offense. In 28 minutes, Hinrich finished with nine points, seven assists and three turnovers. 

While it's incredibly disheartening that Thibodeau's squad will be pushing forward without Rose, they've been in this spot before, and Hinrich has experience leading the troops. 

Look for his play to improve in the coming weeks, as the Bulls begin to accept the reality of another season without their star point guard. 

Grade: C

 

Taj Gibson, Chicago Bulls, Power Forward

The Bulls' bench has been shuffled over the past few days to accommodate a slew of injuries. One of the few constants in the rotation has been Taj Gibson, who was the only Chicago reserve to score points in the first half against the Clippers. 

Gibson dropped in six points in 11 first-half minutes and finished with six points and eight rebounds but shot a paltry 3-of-13 from the field.

Like all of Chicago's key role players, Gibson will be tasked with stepping up his offensive production and bringing energy the rest of the way. 

Grade: C-

 

Bench, Chicago Bulls

With Dunleavy and Hinrich starting, the Bulls' bench mob was rather thin, just as it was for the entirety of last season.  

And considering Chicago's bench was averaging just 25.6 points per game entering Sunday's contest against the Clippers, it should come as no surprise that they struggled, scoring a combined nine points, excluding Gibson's production.

One indication of the Bulls' limited depth? Tony Snell saw his first first-half action since the Bulls' season opener against the Miami Heat. He shot 2-of-4 from the field and scored five points in the loss.

Marquis Teague was particularly bad, missing all seven of his shots from the floor in his new role as the team's backup point man. 

Grade: F

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