Clippers 94, Bulls 89By The Sports Xchange | The SportsXchange – Wed, Dec 12, 2012 12:20 AM EST
CHICAGO -- Blake Griffin keeps working on his outside shot, but he scored most of his team-high 22 points Tuesday on high-flying dunks. The Los Angeles Clippers owned the air space around the rim while beating the Chicago Bulls 94-89 at the United Center. Point guard Chris Paul added 18 points for the Clippers, who won their seventh straight game. Forward Carlos Boozer led the Bulls with 24 points and 13 rebounds. Guard Marco Belinelli added 18 points for Chicago, and Joakim Noah added 10 points and 11 rebounds. Entering the game, the Bulls were shooting 33.2 percent from 3-point range, which ranked 25th in the league. They defied form Tuesday, though, hitting eight of their first 10 attempts from long range and 10 of 20 overall. After trailing by nine points with 2:19 remaining, the Bulls closed within 89-87 with 48.3 seconds left on a 3-pointer by Belinelli. The Clippers answered with a Paul pull-up in the lane to go back up by four. Noah scored on a driving reverse before Paul hit two free throws with 21 seconds remaining to make it 93-89. The Clippers made a move late in the first half, finishing with a 12-2 run to take a 47-40 advantage into halftime. The lead reached nine before the Bulls climbed back. A three-point play by Boozer followed by a 3-point basket from Kirk Hinrich lifted the home team to a 60-57 lead with 5:52 remaining in the third quarter. The Bulls let it get away again late in the third. A clear-path foul on Noah led to a four-point possession by Matt Barnes, who hit a free throw and a 3-pointer. Trailing 69-65 heading into the fourth, the Bulls never drew even. A couple of baskets by backup point guard Eric Bledsoe sent the Clippers ahead 77-69. The Bulls thought they had some momentum when Boozer hit a bank shot as he collided with Lamar Odom, but the call was a charge. Boozer came right back with a bank shot, then a three-point play that counted, bringing the Bulls within 77-74 with 7:07 remaining. The Clippers pulled away again, though, using the dunk as their weapon. Barnes threw one down off a pass from Jamal Crawford, and then Griffin finished two lobs to make it 87-80 with 3:38 left. NOTES: Veteran forward Grant Hill has yet to play in a regular-season game for the Clippers, but he is starting to make progress in his recovery from a bone bruise in his right knee. "Yesterday he started running," coach Vinny Del Negro said before Tuesday's game. "He felt pretty good today. He'll run every other day and see how he feels. That's kind of where it's at. No timetable." ... Hinrich was back in the starting lineup Tuesday after missing the second half of Saturday's win over New York with a hyperextended left elbow. ... Belinelli, who averaged 20.3 points in the previous three games, had the best 3-point shooting percentage of his career (.414) while playing with Paul in New Orleans during the 2010-11 season. ... The last time the Clippers won seven in a row was December 1991.
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