LOS ANGELES – Tom Thibodeau started listing all the strengths that the Clippers have. It was a long list. So how did the Bulls head coach end his assessment?
“There is nothing they don’t have,” Thibodeau said.
Thibodeau and the Bulls better hope that’s not the case.
Here’s what the Bulls need to get done tonight against the Clippers if they want to win their second-straight road game:
1. Keep ’em grounded – The nickname says it all – “Lob City.” The run-and-gun Clippers reside in Cali, but try and spend most of their vacation time above the rim. “Their nickname is ‘Lob City,’ so obviously they get up and go,” power forward Carlos Boozer said. “[Los Angeles point guard] Chris [Paul] does a great job of getting the ball and get-up and go, pushing the ball. Getting back into transition will be a big key for us, and rebounding.” Mostly it will be getting back on transition and limiting the Clippers on the fastbreak. The Clippers seem to feed off putting the opposition on a poster, so limit their highlights, keep their emotion and swagger in check.
2. Picked apart – Paul is the master of the pick-and-roll, not only running it, but making the good decision off of it. He can make the pass to the cutter, take the big man to the hoop on the switch, and pull up for the 15- to 17-footer for the easy basket. The Bulls point guards have to make a serious effort in forcing Paul to make the tough decision or the difficult pass. They need a high effort on defense.
3. Grind it out – The Bulls can control the game with their offense, making it a possession game by grinding the shot clock down and making the Clippers impatient. Their defense has a tendency to break down, and it could help get them out of sync offensively when the flow of the game is slower than they like.