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Clippers 101, Bulls 80

The SportsXchange

LOS ANGELES -- Jamal Crawford and the Los Angeles Clippers' explosive second unit helped to turn a close game with the Chicago Bulls into a runway before halftime, earning their fifth consecutive victory with a 101-80 win Saturday night in the Staples Center.

Crawford, a reserve shooting guard who has led the Clippers in scoring through the season's first nine games, scored 22 points on 6-for-10 shooting from the field in only 26 minutes. The Clippers' bench outscored the Bulls' subs by a commanding 53-25.

At one point in the second half, the Clippers led the battle of the benches 40-8.

Blake Griffin had a team-leading 26 points and 10 rebounds for the Clippers, who improved to 7-2 to start the season. Chris Paul scored eight points and added a team-high 10 assists for Los Angeles, which took the lead for good late in the first quarter.

The Clippers led by as many as 23 points in the third quarter.

Carlos Boozer scored 22 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for the Bulls (5-4), and Rip Hamilton and Luol Deng added 14 points apiece. Chicago's backups cut the deficit to 87-74 with 6:13 remaining in the game.

After a timeout, Griffin scored six straight points to extend L.A.'s lead to 93-74.

The game was all but settled in the first half as the Clippers continued their hot start to the season. Los Angeles added Chicago to its list of impressive victories. The Clippers also have wins over Miami, Memphis, San Antonio and the rival Lakers.

Crawford scored a team-leading 17 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the field and the Clippers led by as many as 18 points en route to a 53-40 advantage by halftime. Crawford also made all five free throws he attempted in only 14 minutes.

Boozer kept the Bulls within the same area code by scoring 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting and grabbing six rebounds in the first half. Hamilton added 10 points on 5-of-8 shooting. The rest of the Bulls were a combined 6 of 27.

The Clippers pressured the Bulls into 12 turnovers.

Los Angeles scored 26 of its first 53 points in the paint and its second unit, led by Crawford, outscored its Chicago counterparts 35-8.

The Clippers led 18-15 by the end of the first quarter, setting the tone by forcing the Bulls into seven turnovers and 28 percent shooting (7 of 25). Griffin scored six points in the opening period and had eight by halftime.

Crawford and Matt Barnes, a reserve forward, sparked a 19-4 run that stretched from near the end of the first quarter to midway through the second, giving the Clippers a 33-19 lead with 7:01 remaining in the first half.

NOTES: The Clippers led the NBA in steals, averaging 10.3 per game going into Saturday's game. ... Guard Chauncey Billups (Achilles' tendon) and forward Grant Hill (right knee bone bruise) each sat out his ninth game to start the season. There is no timetable for either to make his season debut, although Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said Billups is closer than Hill. ... The Bulls made their lone visit to play the Clippers in the Staples Center without point guard Derrick Rose, whose return from left knee surgery remains uncertain. ... The Bulls led the all-time series 62-41 going into Saturday's game. ... Chicago's trip continues Sunday in Portland.
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