LOS ANGELES - Agence France-Presse
Los Angeles Clippers match their best start to an NBA season as they beat the Chicago Bulls to improve to seven wins from nine games
LA Clippers’ Ryan Hollins (R) drives to the basket while being defended by the Bulls’ Richard Hamilton during the two teams’ meeting. AFP Photo
The Los Angeles Clippers have continued their impressive opening to the NBA season, matching their best start in franchise history by thumping the Chicago Bulls 101-80 at Staples Center on Nov. 17.
The victory was the fifth straight for the Clippers, who were led by big man Blake Griffin’s double-double and Jamal Crawford’s prolific shooting to improve to 7-2.
Griffin scored a game-high 26 points and added 10 rebounds while Crawford chimed in with 22 points.
“It’s about my teammates, it’s about how they space the floor and are giving me the confidence throughout the game,” Griffin told reporters. “It was a very important win.”
Having played eight of their opening nine games at home the Clippers must now prove their worth on the road as they head for a tough four-game run in five days, including contests against the San Antonio Spurs (8-2) and Oklahoma City Thunder (7-3).
The only other time in franchise history the Clippers won seven of their opening nine games was 2005-06 where they finished 47-35, and ended up one victory short of the Western Conference Finals.
“Yeah, we’re thrilled. But it’s early,” head coach Vinny Del Negro said.
“We’re happy but we let a couple of games slip away.
“Against some of the top teams I felt we played solid basketball at times but we have to be more consistent.
“We have a tough road trip coming up and we have to handle it right. We’ll see where we are after that; it will be a good test for us.”
Five of the Clippers’ six wins have come against teams that were in the playoffs last season, including the Lakers, Spurs and holders Miami Heat.
In Phoenix, Chris Bosh scored 24 points, while an ailing LeBron James added 21 to help the Miami Heat close its six-game road trip with a 97-88 victory over the Phoenix Suns.
James, who missed the morning shootaround with flu-like symptoms, made only 8 of 20 shots but still reached 20 points for the 11th time in 11 games this season.
Earlier in Boston, Rajon Rondo tied his season high with 20 assists, and Jason Terry scored 20 points to help the Boston Celtics to an easy 107-89 victory over the Toronto Raptors.
Rondo’s game streak of double-digit assists now stands at 33, the third-longest in NBA history and within four games of tying John Stockton. Lakers legend Magic Johnson holds the record at 46 games.