Clippers overcome Bulls and another double-digit setback

Jason Parkhurst -USA TODAY Sports
The Clippers improve to 41-21 and are currently the fourth seed in the Western Conference.

LOS ANGELES — After sneaking past a 20-point deficit in Houston Wednesday the Los Angeles Clippers escaped yet another double-digit shortfall Saturday afternoon against the Chicago Bulls.

Turning point: The Bulls took an early 29-23 lead after one quarter and held on to the lead when halftime came. At one point during the third quarter the Clippers took charge and found themselves on a scoring spurt. 

The Bulls kept it a close 85-83 going into the fourth quarter, but would lose momentum from there. Chicago made only five of its 18 shots in the fourth quarter and missed eight of nine from beyond the arc.

What it means: The Clippers improve to 41-21 and are currently the fourth seed in the Western Conference. The team is 6-4 over their last ten games and are in the middle of a two-game winning streak. They are 22-8 at Arena, and are a mere one win away from their thirteenth consecutive winning season.

Hits: Center Ivica Zubac and shooting guard Norman Powell gave LA the spark it needed to seal the comeback win. Powell scored 18 points off the bench, including two three-pointers that gave the team some much-needed leeway early in the fourth. 

Zubac meanwhile finished with 16 points, 10 coming in the third quarter alone. He helped spark the early fourth-quarter spurt alongside Powell, and went 7-9 from the field with nine rebounds in 25 minutes.

Misses: Most misses came in the first half due to the Clippers slow start. Things did not look promising throughout the first two quarters due to LA only gathering 10 points in the paint. Fortunately for the Clippers, that number grew to 42 by the end of the 48 minutes. 

Stat of the game: James Harden made league history after an impressive outing against Chicago. He became the second player ever in the NBA to record a triple-double without attempting a single two-pointer. 

Harden finished Saturday’s matinee bout with 14 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists and one steal while shooting 4-for-10 from the three-point range in 34 minutes. In his first year with the Clippers, the guard is averaging 17 points, five rebounds, eight assists and one steal per game while shooting 44% from the field and 40% from deep. 

Up next: The Clippers will play again as soon as tomorrow in yet another back-to-back series when they host the Milwaukee Bucks. Sunday’s game will be another matinee bout and presents the opportunity for LA to respond after blowing a 15-point lead last week in Milwaukee.