The Chicago Bulls complete their opening four game road trip with a stop at Lob City to take on Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and the L.A. Clippers.
It's somewhat of a crime that almost every worthwhile Western Conference team the Bulls play this year will be on the road. Bulls fans missed out on both L.A. teams coming to the UC this year.
The Clippers annihilated Golden State in game one, a game which neither of the Golden State guards could throw a ball into the ocean, then they got blown up by the San Antonio Spurs. The trend is that a fundamental defensive team can probably do alright against the Clippers which should bode well for Chicago.
Keys to the game
Derrick Rose needs to own Chris Paul
Historically, not a problem. Rose plays his best against the elite PGs on both sides of the floor. I expect Rose to do so again, as he's typically done an outstanding job on Paul defensively and scored at will himself.
The Clippers are going to rely on athleticism to score. Jordan/Griffin using their athleticism in the post or on cuts. These are the types of plays that defensive focus can stop. Joakim Noah especially needs to be wary of where he is on the court and can't over help on Chris Paul to leave the lob open.
Carlos Boozer is going to need to keep Blake in front of him and force him to work in the post or shoot from the outside. Just don't let Griffin get behind him for the pass over the top.
Spread em out and slow it down
I think the Bulls can play fast or slow, but I like their advantage much more going slow in a game against the Clippers who will have more fundamental cracks in their defense than Chicago. I also like the Bulls outside shooting more than the Clippers, and slowed down games rely more on jump shooting than dunks.
Bring out the A game
The Bulls are 2-1, but I don't think any fans really feel the Bulls have impressed with the way they've won. It's always good to win 2 of 3 on the road, but Chicago needs to kick it up a notch to beat the Clippers.
I'm not going to do game predictions, because I will predict a Bulls win every night except perhaps when they play Miami. This is a game they probably have about a 60% shot at victory in which means while they should win, there's still a good shot for an upset. The Clippers are coming off a rest day and have home court advantage. However, the Bulls are the more fundamental team and who really trusts Vinny Del Negro to beat a well coached squad?