Jordan, Williams lead Clippers over Bulls 112-106
CHICAGO (AP) The Los Angeles Clippers need all the wins they can get if they’re going to make the playoffs for the seventh straight year – even the ugly ones.
So they’ll take this.
Tobias Harris added 18 points, and the Clippers started to take control late in the third quarter on the way to their fifth win in six games.
”Well, we won,” coach Doc Rivers said. ”That’s all I’ll say to that one.”
Bobby Portis led Chicago with 19 points and nine rebounds. Kris Dunn added 18 points and six assists. But with Lauri Markkanen sidelined by lower back spasms, the Bulls lost for the eighth time in 11 games.
”We’re young, we’re trying to figure (out) who we are as a team,” Dunn said.
Seventh in the Western Conference, the Clippers struggled to put away a rebuilding team going with younger players while eyeing a lottery pick. But they did just enough on the opener of a three-game trip.
With the next two at Houston and Oklahoma City on Thursday and Friday, they needed this one.
”The approach is to win,” Harris said. ”The approach is to go out there and compete every single night. Go out there and collect wins. Obviously, in the situation we’re (in), the margin of error is very slim so we have to be ready at all times.”
It was four-point game with about five minutes left in the third when Los Angeles went on a 14-4 run that bumped the lead to 14 early in the fourth.
Austin Rivers started it with a 19-footer, and Williams broke for a layup off a missed 3 by Chicago’s Noah Vonleh. Montrezl Harrell drove for a layup just under a minute into the fourth, making it 92-78, and Los Angeles maintained the lead the rest of the way.
”Right now, it’s about us getting better as a unit and prepared for the playoffs, and that is us paying attention to coverages on both ends of the floor and staying locked in,” Jordan said.
The Bulls were up by two in the closing minute of the first half when Zach LaVine and coach Fred Hoiberg got called for technicals, upset there was no foul called against Sindarius Thornwell as he blocked a dunk. Williams hit the technical free throws and two more foul shots to send Los Angeles to the locker room with a 62-60 lead.
LaVine had a rough night, with 10 points on 3-of-13 shooting. Hoiberg thought he was slow at times getting back on defense because of his frustration on offense. But on the blocked dunk, he made one thing clear.
”He got hit, there’s no doubt about it,” Hoiberg said. ”The referees admitted it afterward.”
BRADLEY HAS SURGERY
Clippers guard Avery Bradley could miss the rest of the season after having surgery to repair muscles in his pubic area. The Clippers expect the recovery time to be six to eight weeks, meaning they would need to make the playoffs for him to play again this season.
Markkanen’s back has been bothering him the past few days.
Though Hoiberg said it felt ”really good” in the morning, it acted up in the weight room before the game so the Bulls scratched him from the lineup.
Clippers: The Clippers were 30 of 41 at the line, matching a season high for free throws made and setting one for attempts. The Bulls, by comparison, took 15 foul shots. … Williams hit 13 of 14 free throws. … Los Angeles has won five in a row against Chicago, including two games this season.
Bulls: With Markkanen sidelined, Vonleh started and had eight points and seven rebounds. … LaVine was 3 of 13 from the field with 10 points. … The Bulls shot 7 of 29 on 3-pointers.
Clippers: Visit Houston on Thursday.
Bulls: Visit Memphis on Thursday.
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