Clippers at Bulls
The weekend failed to provide any real separation in the Western Conference, and the Los Angeles Clippers are teetering on the edge of the top eight. The Clippers will try to take advantage of an opponent sliding to the bottom of the standings when they visit the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday in the opener of a three-game road trip.
Los Angeles entered play on Monday in a virtual three-way tie for the No. 8 spot but was also sitting just 1 1/2 games behind three teams tied for No. 4. "Tough games, every game," Clippers coach Doc Rivers told reporters of the upcoming road trip, which includes stops at Houston and Oklahoma City after Chicago. "We've just got to keep our focus. We've got to keep the one-game-at-a-time mantra, which we've kept all year." The Bulls are more focused on the bigger picture but are winners of three of their last five games, with all three wins coming against teams below them in the standings. Chicago placed seven scorers in double figures and handed out 31 assists in a 129-122 win at Atlanta on Sunday.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, FS Prime Ticket (Los Angeles), NBCS Chicago
ABOUT THE CLIPPERS (36-29): Los Angeles is tinkering with its lineups due to injury and ineffectiveness but still picked up wins in 11 of the last 15 games. Lou Williams moved into the starting lineup for the last two games, bumping Wesley Johnson to the bench, and scored 25 points to lead the way in Saturday's 113-105 win over Orlando. "Again, I have a great group," Rivers told reporters. "Every night we can change the lineups. Nobody complains. Everybody is always ready. Certain nights some guys play, other guys don't play, and no one cares. They just want to win and that's why we're winning games."
ABOUT THE BULLS (23-43): Chicago continues to give opportunities to young players on the roster and gave rookie Antonio Blakeney his longest run since November with 19 minutes on Sunday. The LSU product responded with 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting and impressed his teammates. "He brought a lot of scoring, a lot of confidence, a lot of swag," Bulls forward Bobby Portis told the team's website of Blakeney. "He's a guy that is very confident in his game. He's a great scorer. He can score with the best of them. I always see him at the gym late nights and early mornings. I'm happy to see it pay off for him. It's fun basketball, playing for each other, making each other better. It's fun when you win, but it's always fun seeing your teammates smiling and happy when you're playing, too."
1. Portis scored 21 points on 9-of-16 shooting Sunday after being held to two points on 1-of-10 at Detroit on Friday.
2. Clippers C DeAndre Jordan is averaging 19.2 rebounds in five games this month.
3. Los Angeles took the last four in the series, including a 113-103 home win on Feb. 3.