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High-flying Clippers nail Bulls

Big boy Griffin gives credit to teammates after fifth straight victory

Gulf News

Los Angeles: The Los Angeles Clippers have continued their impressive opening to the NBA season, matching their best start to a year in franchise history by thumping the Chicago Bulls 101-80 at Staples Centre on Saturday.

The victory was the fifth straight for the Clippers, who were led by big man Blake Griffin’s double-double and Jamal Crawford’s prolific shooting to improve to 7-2. Griffin scored a game high 26 points and added 10 rebounds while Crawford chimed in with 22 points of his own as the home side dominated.

“It’s about my team mates, it’s about how they space the floor and are giving me the confidence throughout the game,” Griffin told reporters.

“It was a very important win.”

Having played eight of their opening nine games at home the Clippers must now prove their worth on the road as they head for a tough four-game run in five days, including contests against the San Antonio Spurs (8-2) and Oklahoma City Thunder (7-3).

The only other time in franchise history the Clippers won seven of their opening nine games was 2005-06 where they finished 47-35 on the year, and ended up one victory short of the Western Conference Finals.

“Yeah, we’re thrilled. But it’s early,” head coach Vinny Del Negro said. “We’re happy but we let a couple of games slip away.

“Against some of the top teams I felt we played solid basketball at times but we have to be more consistent.

“It’s early on and guys are still getting their feet under them a little bit.

“We have a tough road trip coming up and we have to handle it right. We’ll see where we are after that; it will be a good test for us.”

The Bulls, still playing without injured former league MVP Derrick Rose, trailed for the majority of the night and dropped to 5-4 on the season.

Carlos Boozer was the pick of the Bulls line-up with 22 points and 12 assists.


Fact Box

Results (home team in CAPS) BOSTON 107 Toronto 89 Utah 83 WASHINGTON 76 Memphis 94 CHARLOTTE 87 Dallas 103 CLEVELAND 95 MILWAUKEE 117 New Orleans 113 SAN ANTONIO 126 Denver 100 Miami 97 PHOENIX 88 LA CLIPPERS 101 Chicago 80