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A few people had picked the Clippers to win the West this year. While I think they are a better team than last year, I still think they are a ways away from that. I’m thinking they will win one playoff series and then be eliminated prior to the Conference finals. I think that should be their goal this season. Trading for the second best point guard in the league is very exciting for Clippers fans, and Chris Paul figures to make the human highlight reel Blake Griffin that much better. They will win plenty of basketball games this year. That being said, after blowing out Golden State on opening night (a team that beat up on us), they got destroyed by San Antonio in their second game of the season, 115-90. Clearly, they have some work to do.

However, so do the Bulls. They have not looked themselves this year, despite winning 2 out of their first 3. The defense has really struggled in the past 2 games and it must be driving Thibs crazy. He is a great coach and I have no doubt that we will get this figured out, but I would prefer it be sooner rather than later, because Miami looks really strong and we need every advantage we could get against them (home court advantage.) I wonder how much of the slow start is due to the lockout and short training camp. You always hear in sports that it takes the offense longer to figure things out than the defense, but right now our defense has plenty to figure out.

Stat of the Day:

Derrick Rose averaged 33.0 points and 9.5 assists against the Clippers last season.

Probable Chicago Starters:

G – Derrick Rose, 18.0 PPG

G – Rip Hamilton, 10.7 PPG

F – Luol Deng, 18.3 PPG

F – Carlos Boozer, 12.3 PPG

C – Joakim Noah, 7.3 PPG

Probable Los Angeles Starters:

G – Chris Paul, 15.0 PPG

G – Chauncey Billups, 16.0 PPG

F – Caron Butler, 11.5 PPG

F – Blake Griffin, 25.0 PPG

C – DeAndre Jordan, 7.0 PPG

Prediction:

Current Line: Chicago (-1), Over/Under 191

The Bulls haven’t looked themselves yet and are playing the back end of a back-to-back and their fourth west coast game in a row. The Clippers are well rested and playing their home opener. The Bulls are the better team but the Clippers get this one.

Clippers 102 Bulls 96