Griffin, Crawford lead Clippers over Bulls 101-80

Associated Press Modified: November 18, 2012 at 12:17 am •  Published: November 18, 2012
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"I think we took a couple of steps back tonight. We got outscrapped and we got out-competed," Joakim Noah said. "They're too athletic. And when they get out on the break, that's their strength. They were denying everything with their switching and we didn't finish well around the rim."

Noah, who has been urged by Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau to take more shots, was 0 for 6 from the field and finished with four points in 30 minutes. It was the 6-foot-11 center's worst shooting effort in 339 NBA regular-season games, including six occasions when he was 0 for 4.

"Holding Noah scoreless from the field, we did a great job as a team," Griffin said. "Our rotations were good, and we made sure everyone was accounted for. We gave Carlos Boozer too many easy ones, especially on offensive rebound putbacks and stuff like that. But as long as Boozer has 22 and we're up by 20, we'll live with that."

Crawford led Los Angeles to a 53-40 halftime lead with 17 points, including three free throws with 1:31 left in the second quarter after Kirk Hinrich fouled him on a fadeaway 3-point attempt near the Clippers' bench.

Los Angeles opened the second half with a 7-0 run and extended its lead to 71-48 on Griffin's 21-footer with 5:04 left in the third quarter. The Bulls narrowed the gap to 87-74 with two baskets off offensive rebounds and a 3-pointer by Marco Belinelli with 6:14 left in the game.

But Griffin put the Clippers back in control with two free throws, a fast-break layup and another layup — all in a 58-second span. For good measure, the two-time All-Star connected three straight times on perimeter jumpers from 18 feet and out during a 70-second stretch to make it 99-80 with 2:07 to play.

"This one's hard to let go," Boozer said. "We didn't have enough juice. They're a very good team and they protect the rim very well. And they got their hands on a lot of loose balls."

NOTES: The Clippers came in with an average of 40.9 points from their bench. ... The victory put Vinny Del Negro one game over .500 in the regular season for the first time since he took over as Clippers head coach at the start of the 2010-11 campaign. He is 79-78 with Los Angeles, after guiding Chicago to back-to-back .500 seasons and two playoff berths. The Bulls are 117-40 since firing Del Negro and replacing him with Thibodeau.