The LA Clippers’ road trip begins tonight, and this game marks the calm before the storm.
From now until the end of the season, the Clippers will only face three sub.-500 teams. The only three non-playoff teams LA will face are: the Bulls, Suns, and Lakers. Every other team they play will be a heavy hitting playoff team. That stat in mind should put the gravity of tonight’s Clipper game into perspective.
Since the All-Star break, the Bulls have lost 6 out of their last 8 games. However, the team has won 2 out of their last 4 games, so they are playing with a bit of confidence. Never forget, even though the Bulls have a poor record, they were still capable of winning 10-2 at one point during the season.
Here’s how the Clippers can start off their road trip off with a W:
Rebound the Ball
Despite the Bulls’ other deficiencies, they’re a great rebounding team (ranked 8th at 44.7 RPG). No matter how bad the record, every team has one or two categories that they’re good at; no team is poor at everything. Shutting down the Bulls’ ability to rebound will shut down any easy opportunities at the basket.
Offense doesn’t come easy for this Chicago team. They attempt the 2nd most shots a game (88.7), but they also have the 2nd worst field goal percentage in the league (43%). The Clippers need to keep it that way.
Attack the Paint
The Bulls aren’t a great defensive team, they’re ranked 24th and allow 109.4 PPG. On the other hand, the Clippers are one of the premiere teams at attacking the paint. LA scores the 3rd most points in the paint (50.9), and as a result shoots the 3rd most free throws in the league (25.5).
LA needs to expose Chicago’s poor defense through an aggressive offense. Fortunately, that game plan perfectly matches up with LA’s strengths.
Prediction: The Clippers will win if they stay within 5 rebounds of the Bulls, and shoot at least 47% from the field.