LOS ANGELES – It’s really never over until it’s over the way the Clippers do, but you can finally put a fork in their winning streak after seven straight wins.
Despite erasing a 17-point deficit and a narrow one-point lead in the fourth quarter, the Clippers (8-5) failed, losing to the Chicago Bulls 100-90 in a brawl on Sunday night between two defenders in front of a crowd of 17,899 people at Staples Center.
The Clippers took a 78-77 lead with 10 minutes left, but two former local college players helped Chicago (9-4) fend off Tyronn Lue’s side in the final 10 minutes.
DeMar DeRozan, a Compton native who played collegially at USC, scored nine of his game-high 35 points in the last period. He shot 12 for 16 overall (all but four of his shots from the midrange) and made 10 of 11 free throws. He added seven rebounds and five assists in 37 minutes.
“He was too comfortable in the first half,” said Lue. “I thought he came in his place every time. In the second half we thought we did a better job of blitzing him and shuffling him, shooting him a little bit to get the ball out of his hands, but by then he was already there. comfortable and then he scored 3 points. at the end of a shot clock, so that’s what great players do.
And UCLA product Zach LaVine brought them home. He scored 21 of his 29 points in the second half and finished 6 for 13 in depth.
Clippers star Paul George played 41 minutes and finished with 27 points on a 7 for 25 shot.
“Myself, personally I couldn’t do any shots, I couldn’t drop them tonight, a lot of back and forth, a lot of beauty, it just wasn’t my night shot,” said George, who took 11 rebounds. and was perfect from the free throw line, realizing his 11 free kicks (the Clippers scored 21 for 21 as a team).
Eric Bledsoe finished with 21 points. Reggie Jackson was the only other Clipper to score in double digits, with 13 points on a 4-for-17 shot.
The Clippers have shot just 35.8% as a team, their second lowest percentage in a game this season. They also committed 20 turnovers, tying their season high.
“Just lost. Our guys were tired. I thought they were tired,” Lue said. “I was wrong, I played them for too many minutes. So you get tired, you don’t attack the rim, you don’t attack the basket and you get off. I took some hard hits like you said 3s, didn’t get into the paint. So our guys were tired, you could see it, and it was one of me.
“So whatever. Start a new streak.
Playing the second half of a back-to-back weekend, the Clippers were hoping to build on the momentum of Saturday’s 129-102 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves until Sunday’s game against Chicago.
Chicago came on after being beaten 119-93 by Golden State on Friday, when the Bulls opened a five-game swing on the Western Conference Road by suffering their first double-digit loss this season.
The Clippers were out of sync at first, opening the game with 10 first-quarter turnovers and just five marks from just 15 attempts – and a 30-17 deficit to show for that.
It was a different story for DeRozan; he was sharp from the start, shooting 5 for 7 in the first quarter for 12 of his total.
The Clippers trailed 34-17 with 10:57 to go in the second quarter, with the 17-point deficit matching the gap at the start of their win over Miami last week, which followed returns from a 13-point first-quarter deficit against Charlotte, a 20-point first-half deficit against Minnesota and a 15-point hole against Oklahoma City.
“This team always finds a way to fight and come back to a game, it’s always positive,” said George. “We’re not going to win every game and today was just one we couldn’t get.”
The Bulls were leading 54-45 at halftime after the Clippers outscored Chicago 28-24 in the second quarter, thanks to 11 points from George.
The Clippers kept him close, refusing to let Chicago go their separate ways. No big surprise, George had something to do with it; he lowered his head and walked over to the edge, barking at the referees for the fouls (and lifting T’d once and awarding the and-1 foul the next).
His efforts narrowed the gap to 68-64 – the Clippers’ closest since he was 11-8.
Entering the fourth, the Clippers were down 77-71. Two minutes and two seconds later, they were leading 78-77 after George conceded a free-falling bank shot – their first lead since 8-7.
Chicago Response: DeRozan. He scored four points and assisted on Tony Bradley’s bucket as the Bulls scored six quick runs to take the lead, 83-78.
Then LaVine – who lost 45 points to the Clippers at Staples Center last season – drilled a 3-point lead to increase the lead to eight points.
Chino Hills native Lonzo Ball finished with 10 points, five rebounds and three assists in 34 minutes.