The Bulls have risen and fallen; the Clippers have fallen, then risen. So when the teams met again Saturday night in Los Angeles, it really did feel like more of a night to see if the Clippers would have another letdown against a lesser opponent coming off a huge win over the Miami Heat on Wednesday.
But the Clippers wasted little time Saturday night in putting the Bulls away, 101-80.
The Clippers built a 13-point halftime lead behind 17 first-half points from super sub Jamal Crawford and never looked back.
Crawford finished with 22 points, his sixth 20-point game off the bench this year, Blake Griffin added 26 points and 10 rebounds and Matt Barnes had 13 in 26 minutes as the Clippers won their fifth straight to improve to 7-2 on the season.
Chicago got 22 points from Carlos Boozer but not much else from anyone else and dropped to 5-4.
Here's three take-aways from the game:
1. Clippers bench press Bulls:
You know a team is starting to get really good when its stars don't need to carry them every night. Chris Paul had just eight points in 32 minutes Saturday against the Derrick Rose-less Bulls and the Clippers didn't even need him because their bench is so strong. The Clippers reserves outscored the Bulls reserves 53-25. In fact, the Clippers bench outscored the Clippers starters, 53-48!
2. DeAndre's block party
The Clippers' message to DeAndre Jordan is pretty simple: Play defense, rebound like your life depends on it, score if you must. His line from Saturday night is perfect: five points, eight rebounds and seven blocks. That's right, seven blocks. With Jordan holding down the inside like that, the Bulls managed just 36 points in the paint.
3. Clippers actually look like the defense-minded team
Wait, wasn't Chicago supposed to be able to weather the injury to Rose because it played such superior defense? Not on this night. In fact, it was the Clippers who played the type of gritty, aggressive, organized defense the Bulls are known for in holding Chicago to just 80 points on 33.7 percent shooting. The Clippers meanwhile, scored 101 on 49.3 percent shooting.