January 31, 2016 / 11:41 PM / 3 years ago

Clippers' bench the difference in win over Bulls

(The Sports Xchange) - Another productive outing by their bench allowed the Los Angeles Clippers to bolt past Chicago on Sunday, with reserve guard Jamal Crawford scoring 26 points in a 120-93 blowout of the Bulls at Staples Center.

Los Angeles Clippers guard Jamal Crawford (11) celebrates with guard Pablo Prigioni (L) and forward Wesley Johnson (R) after scoring during the fourth quarter against the Chicago Bulls at Staples Center. The Los Angeles Clippers won 120-93. Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

J.J. Redick scored 21 points on seven-of-11 shooting, hitting all four of his three-pointers, Chris Paul had 19 and seven assists and DeAndre Jordan added 17 points, 20 rebounds and four blocks for the Clippers (32-16), who captured their fourth straight win.

Austin Rivers came off the bench to score 16 points, hitting five of six from three-point range.

The Clippers’ reserves outscored Chicago’s 58-18. That effort comes on the heels of Friday’s performance, when the Clippers’ bench torched the Los Angeles Lakers’ second unit 56-25.

“We were so down after that Toronto game because for a month that’s not who we’ve been,” said Crawford, referring to a 112-94 loss Jan. 24 when the Raptors’ backups held a 51-29 advantage over the Clippers.

“We got our butts kicked that game (but) we’ve bounced back nicely since then.”

Jimmy Butler had 23 points and Derrick Rose contributed 20 points for the Bulls (26-20), who have dropped four of their last six games. Pau Gasol chipped in 15 points and 14 rebounds.

Rose said consistency has been the Bulls’ biggest foe.

“It’s the story of our year,” said Rose, who made 10 of 17 shots and grabbed five rebounds. “Like I said, if I could put a finger on it ... I watch a lot of basketball and the only thing I could think of is the effort and sticking with the game plan.”

A 12-4 Clippers surge to open the fourth quarter doomed the Bulls. A three-pointer by backup forward Wesley Johnson, who had 11 points, gave the Clippers a 95-77 cushion less than two minutes into the period.

The Bulls were unable to reduce the lead to under double figures the rest of the way.

“Really, our bench has been fantastic,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “They are actually changing games and it’s with their energy.

“I think early on, they thought it was going to be with their offense and now they’ve realized that it is with their hands, with their defense and their deflections.”

Los Angeles also benefited from their three-point shooting to split the season series with Chicago, who recorded an 83-80 win on Dec. 10.

The Clippers connected on 17 of 32 three-pointers compared to five of 15 for the Bulls. Overall, the Clippers made 53.6 percent of their shots from the floor to 43 percent for the Bulls.

“It was a collective effort,” said Paul, who hit eight of 16 field-goal attempts but missed three of four three-point attempts.

“Jamal went on a spree tonight. Our second unit was amazing, guys were sharing the ball, but our defense was the key.”

Los Angeles prevailed despite Chicago’s 56-36 edge on points in the paint.

The Clippers improved to 15-3 without injured forward Blake Griffin (broken hand).

The Clippers took a 51-47 lead at the break. Crawford led all scorers with 12 first-half points.

In the third quarter, the Clippers took control, building a 79-68 advantage after a dunk by Jordan with 1:53 remaining in the quarter. The Bulls closed within 79-73 on a 3-pointer by Butler with 48.3 seconds left, but a three-pointer by Rivers and a jumper by Crawford put Los Angeles up 84-73 heading into the final quarter.

“I wouldn’t say a setback, but it hurts to lose a game like this,” Rose said. “The good thing about it is we play (Monday). We go to Utah and hopefully we get that win.”

Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich returned after missing six games with a left quad contusion. Hinrich was scoreless in 11 minutes.

Editing by Peter Rutherford

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