Before they’re exiled from Staples Center for just about all of February in favor of the Grammy Awards, the Los Angeles Clippers have some business to take care of.
The Chicago Bulls come to L.A. having won five straight games, and will be looking to avenge a one-point loss to the Clippers on December 18 in Chicago.
However, beating the Clippers at Staples Center is a tall order these days.
They haven’t lost a home game since December 29, and have been averaging just over 109 points per game during that stretch.
Despite having beaten teams like the Lakers, Heat and Spurs, the previous win over the Bulls may be the Clippers’ signature victory so far this season.
They entered that game with a record of just 6-21, and had not won a single game on the road to that point.
Blake Griffin, as he’s done so many times already this season, put the Clippers on his back in that game, leading them with 29 points and 12 rebounds.
The win had to be particularly sweet for coach Vinny Del Negro, who spent the previous two seasons coaching the Bulls. He led them to the postseason in both of his seasons at the helm.
The Clips have gone 13-7 since, and find themselves just six games back of the Western Conference’s eighth and final playoff spot.
Earning their 10th straight home victory will be anything but easy, however, due in large part to MVP candidate Derrick Rose.
Rose, in just his third NBA season, is averaging 24.4 points and 8.1 assists per game, and was recently voted to be a starter in the upcoming All-Star Game.
Wednesday night’s game should be of particular interest to Rose, as well, as he’ll be looking to right the ship after he missed what would have been the game-tying free throw with 0.8 seconds remaining in the last game with the Clippers.
The Bulls are 33-14 this season despite rarely having their full complement of players.
Carlos Boozer, who came to Chicago as a free agent from Utah over the summer, has missed 18 games so far this season, while Joakim Noah has missed the last 23 games with a thumb injury.
The Clippers will still likely be without Eric Gordon, who is nursing a sprained right wrist.
Randy Foye has stepped up in the absence of the Clippers’ leading scorer, having scored at least 20 points in three straight games.
L.A. has won two consecutive games overall, and another win tonight would send the Clippers out of town on a high note.
They’re just 3-15 on the road so far, so the upcoming road trip will go a long way in terms of determining the Clips’ playoff fate this season.
About the Author
Written by Taylor Smith
Taylor Smith is a writer for the Los Angeles Clippers.