Clippers 104, Bulls 97
The rebounding duel between two of the top glass cleaners in the NBA was impressive for everyone who witnessed it, including the other players.
Marcus Camby had the advantage over Joakim Noah on Wednesday night, outrebounding him 25-15 and helping the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Chicago Bulls 104-97. Camby's total was just two off his career high, which he recorded against the Bulls on Dec. 17, 2008, at United Center.
``I think Marcus won that one,'' teammate Chris Kaman said. ``I mean, Noah was active the whole game and he brings tons of energy. He does a good job of getting himself in the right position to get the rebound, and he's definitely athletic enough to do that. The same with Marcus.
``Marcus just has all that experience and knowledge. He's always been a great rebounder, and he just has a knack for that. He knows where it's going to go and he knows where to go to get it. He's like the anchor of the defense, and he did a great job for us the whole night.''
Baron Davis scored 11 of his 23 points in the final 3:52, Kaman had 20 points and eight boards, and Al Thornton added 17 points for the Clippers, who have won eight of their last nine home games and have held opponents under 100 points in 17 of their 19 victories overall.
Derrick Rose led Chicago with 23 points, Luol Deng had 19 points and 10 rebounds, and Tyrus Thomas scored 18 points before fouling out in the final seconds.
Camby reached the 20-rebound mark for the 37th time in his career with 5:22 left in the third quarter, tipping a missed 3-pointer by Kirk Hinrich over to Rasual Butler, who assisted on a fast-break dunk by Davis that gave the Clippers a 65-58 lead. Camby has four 20-rebound games this season, matching his total from 2008-09.
``Sometimes you feel like the ball's a magnet,'' said Camby, who averaged a career-best 14.8 rebounds in 1996-97 as a rookie with the Toronto Raptors. ``I study my opponents a lot, I study the trajectory of the basketball and I try to get in a good position to rebound shots. Reading angles are definitely important. It's like geometry out there.''
Noah and Camby entered Wednesday second and third in the league in rebounding behind Orlando's Dwight Howard, averaging 12.3 and 11.6, respectively. They both are listed at 6-foot-11.
``I was just trying to get a win. I don't look at individual matchups,'' Camby said. ``I mean, he's a great young player coming into his own. He's been playing exceptionally well this year, and I'm happy for him.''
The Clippers are 11-6 this season when Camby has had at least 14 rebounds, and the Bulls are 7-9 when Noah gets 14 or more.
``It's not about a battle of the boards or anything like that. It's all about winning games,'' said Noah, who scored 14 points. ``We just fell short. I think we waited too late, in terms of our energy. We've got to play with a little more edge to us. We weren't very good defensively tonight. When teams score 100 points on us, we have a hard time winning those games (1-14).''
Kaman, playing his second game after missing the previous four because of a sore lower back, has scored at least 20 points in 14 of his last 15 games. In his six previous NBA seasons, the 7-foot center had never scored 20 in three consecutive games.
``I've expanded my range in shooting the basketball,'' Kaman said. ``On top of all that, my teammates are looking to throw me the ball. They know how I'm performing and taking care of business, and I think they trust me now.''
Bulls guard John Salmons, who scored 25 points Monday in place of Hinrich during a 114-97 loss at Golden State in the opener of this seven-game road trip, caught the stomach flu that has been plaguing the team. He remained at their hotel before rejoining the Bulls for the flight to Phoenix after the game. Salmons had stayed overnight at an Oakland hospital on Tuesday.
Hinrich played 36 minutes, finishing with nine points and five assists.
The Clippers, who scored 39 points in the first quarter of their 106-95 victory over the New Jersey Nets on Monday, shot only 28 percent in the first 12 minutes against the Bulls and fell behind 26-19. But they bounced back in the second, shooting 59 percent to take a 50-47 lead at the break.
NOTES: The Clippers are in Denver Thursday night to begin an eight-game road trip, while the organizers of the Grammy Awards commandeer Staples Center. They don't return to their home court until Feb. 6 against San Antonio. While they're away, they'll have a rematch with the Bulls on Feb. 2. The Clippers have won four of their last five at United Center. ... Hinrich shot 3 for 14 and lowered his field goal percentage to .383, the lowest on the team among players who have taken at least 100 shots.