Kawhi Leonard and Paul George lead Clippers past Bulls

Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
The Clippers defeated the Bulls for the second time in six days.

The LA Clippers traveled to United Center in Chicago Thursday and defeated the Bulls for the second time in six days.

“We talk about the last 20 games, putting the ball back in PG’s hands so he can get used to it so when we get to the playoffs we know exactly what we want to do,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said. “Now, he’s just getting accustomed to running more pick-and-rolls and keeping the ball in his hands.”

The Clippers shot 20 of 40 from beyond the arc, while Chicago went 16 of 35 on the night.

Turning point: Despite seven of 10 threes made from the Bulls, LA led 37-26 after one quarter. Then the Clippers maintained a 64-53 at halftime thanks to a defense that allowed only 10 paint points through two quarters. 

Holding onto that momentum, the Clippers reached a 20-point lead in the third quarter at 90-70 behind a Terance Mann layup. That lead dwindled down to an 8-point advantage early in the fourth quarter. Chicago caught an 8-0 run in the final period before the Clippers responded with threes and steals. They carried that momentum to the 126-111 win.

What it means: With Thursday’s victory in Chicago, the Clippers reached 13 straight winning seasons since 2011. It makes for the longest active streak in the NBA and the 7th longest streak in league history. Thursday also marks 42 wins for LA this season, a mark they didn’t get until final week of season last year.

Hits: Paul George sank six three-pointers to go towards his 28 points in Chicago. He went a whopping 11-12 from the field and collected seven assists with just one turnover in 35 minutes of play. George was one three-pointer short from his season-high, at 6-7 on the night.

Misses: James Harden missed Thursday’s action with a shoulder injury, and is still uncertain to play in the Clippers’ Friday game according to the Athletic. It was the first time this season LA didn’t have Harden or Russell Westbrook. Harden’s 59-game streak also ended. It was the longest since 2017.

Stat of the game: TheClippers collectively had an impressive shooting night. The team finished 19-29 on shots in the paint, a s well as 29-52 on shots outside of the paint. To cap off the night, LA had a 139.8 offensive rating and 73.1 true shooting percentage.

Up  next: LA will complete another back-to-back series tomorrow when the team visits the Pelicans in New Orleans Friday. The Clippers return to Arena Sunday, March  17 for a bout with the Atlanta Hawks.