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Keys to the game and injury report: Chicago Bulls in desperate need of a win vs. Los Angeles Clippers

By Stephen Beslic,

2023-01-31

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The Bulls beat the Clippers 135-130 in overtime in their last meeting on March 31, 2022.

The Chicago Bulls (23-26) host the Los Angeles Clippers (28-25) tonight. The Bulls are coming off a 128-109 road win against the Orlando Magic on Saturday. Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan led the way with 32 points apiece, and Nikola Vucevic added 26 points, 13 rebounds and six assists in the victory.

Bulls’ Injury Report: Lonzo Ball is out with a left knee injury. Javonte Green (right knee soreness) will also miss this game. Derrick Jones Jr. (sprained left ankle) is probable.

Clippers’ Injury Report: John Wall (abdominal strain) will miss this game. Luke Kennard (right calf soreness), Reggie Jackson (right Achilles soreness), Marcus Morris (rib contusion) and Robert Covington (personal reasons) are listed as questionable.

Los Angeles Clippers (28-25) at Chicago Bulls (23-26)

Tuesday, January 31 – 08:00 PM ET at United Center

Chicago Bulls

  • Points Per Game: 114.5 (15th of 30)
  • Opponent Points Per Game: 114.5 (18th of 30)
  • Bench Points Per Game: 30.3 (24th of 30)
  • Pace: 99.8 (13th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 113.5 (19th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 113.5 (13th of 30)
  • Net Rating: 0 (21st of 30)

Los Angeles Clippers

  • Points Per Game: 110.7 (28th of 30)
  • Opponent Points Per Game: 110.7 (3rd of 30)
  • Bench Points Per Game: 42.7 (3rd of 30)
  • Pace: 97.4 (25th of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 113.3 (24th of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 113.2 (11th of 30)
  • Net Rating: +0.1 (20th of 30)

Contain Norman Powell

The Clippers are a very talented team, but injuries have held them back last two years. Paul George led the team to the Western Conference Finals in 2021 without Kawhi Leonard, and at full strength, the Clippers are championship contenders.

The additions of John Wall , Norman Powell, and Robert Covington make them as dangerous as any other top team in the league. Tonight, the Bulls must contain Powell to win their 24th game this season.

Powell has been the third-best player for the Clippers this season, averaging 16.2 points and three rebounds in 25.2 minutes over 43 games (seven starts), and he’s averaging 18.5 points in his last 10 games. The Clippers will be depleted on Tuesday and they need anything they can get from Powell.

A big game from Vooch

Nikola Vucevic has had a stretch of strong outings as of late. The 32-year-old center had 26 points, 13 rebounds and six assists in Saturday's 128-109 win against the Magic, and he has 12 double-doubles in his last 14 games.

Vucevic’s rebounding improved after watching film and noticing that he wasn’t being aggressive pursuing the ball.

“There was one little stretch for a while where I did my work early to get my guy out and then wouldn’t go get the ball. And I wasn’t as aggressive on offensive rebounding. So I put a bigger emphasis on it. It’s my job to do it. I’ve always been a good rebounder. It’s important for our team,” Vucevic explained .

“We’ve had games where we defend pretty well, but then we give up second-chance points that hurt us. I feel like when you want to go get it, they come to you more too.”

Vucevic has 28 double-doubles this season, good for 6th in the NBA, and another big game from him would help the Bulls beat the Clippers tonight.

Noteworthy

  • The Bulls won the last meeting, 135-130 in overtime on March 31. DeRozan led the Bulls with 50 points.
  • Chicago beat Los Angeles three of the last five times.
  • The Bulls are 3-7 in the last 10 matchups against the Clippers.
  • Clippers’ projected lineup: Zubac, Batum, Leonard, George, Mann
  • Bulls’ projected lineup: Vucevic, Williams, LaVine, DeRozan, Dosunmu
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