Bulls off to red-hot sta

Clippers, Hawks keep­ing pace with Wade-led Chicago squad

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

THE Chicago Bulls ran roughshod over the Brook­lyn Nets on Oc­to­ber 31, pro­duc­ing an ex­plo­sive of­fen­sive ef­fort in a 118-88 vic­tory that has them off to a 3-0 start in the NBA. It’s Chicago’s first 3-0 start since the 1996-97 sea­son, and it comes de­spite fears that off­sea­son changes in­clud­ing the de­par­ture of Der­rick Rose and ar­rival of Dwyane Wade might see the Bulls take some time to click. The Bulls con­nected on 50.6 per­cent of their shots from the field, in­clud­ing 40.7 from three-point range. Seven Bulls play­ers scored in dou­ble fig­ures, led by Jimmy But­ler’s 22 points. “Our in­ten­sity out of the gate has been re­ally good,” said coach Fred Hoiberg, whose Bulls scored 38 points in the open­ing quar­ter and never trailed af­ter the open­ing three min­utes. They led by dou­ble dig­its most of the night. Wade scored 12 points in his first road game with the Bulls. That in­cluded a slick cross­over move on the Nets’ Bo­jan Bog­danovic in the fourth quar­ter that drew some ap­pre­cia­tive gasps from the crowd. “I al­ways get great sup­port when I come here,” Wade said. “The fans are amaz­ing. It feels like home. I don’t know if they cheer like that for me at home when I got the ball. So it was great to be out there.” Nikola Mirotic col­lected 16 points and 10 re­bounds, Isa­iah Can­nan added 15 as the re­serve duo com­bined to hit seven of Chicago’s 11 three-point­ers. Taj Gibson added 14 and 11 re­bounds, Doug McDer­mott con­trib­uted 12 while Ra­jon Rondo had 10. Bog­danovic led the Nets with 15 points while Jeremy Lin added 14 and Brook Lopez had 13 in 22 min­utes af­ter rest­ing on the week­end. “I just think we didn’t have that nor­mal pop or that ex­plo­sive­ness or the nor­mal hunger that we nor­mally have on the de­fen­sive end, ac­tu­ally just in gen­eral,” Lin said.

Clippers, Hawks un­beaten

The Los An­ge­les Clippers and At­lanta Hawks also im­proved to 3-0 with wins on Oc­to­ber 31.

Chris Paul scored 18 of his 24 points in the sec­ond half as the Clippers routed the win­less Phoenix Suns 116-98 in Los An­ge­les.

Paul also had eight as­sists and five re­bounds. Blake Grif­fin added 21 points, 11 re­bounds and five as­sists for the Clippers.

Clippers cen­ter DeAn­dre Jor­dan didn’t seem to show any ill ef­fects from a sprained right thumb suf­fered in Sun­day’s win over the Utah Jazz, fin­ish­ing with 19 point and 11 boards.

“The thumb? It would be hurt­ing if we lost, but we won so it feels a lot bet­ter,” he said.

Ja­mal Craw­ford added 14 points and JJ Redick scored 13.

The Suns were with­out guard Devin Booker, who sat out with a sore right big toe. Booker ap­par­ently ag­gra­vated the in­jury in Sun­day’s 106-100 loss to Golden State.

Bran­don Knight started in Booker’s place and led the Suns with 18 points.

The Clippers broke the game open in the third quar­ter. Two free throws by Knight al­lowed the Suns to close within 56-55 with 7:12 left in the pe­riod.

But the Clippers put to­gether a 22-9 scor­ing run for a 78-63 lead and the Suns couldn’t re­spond.

“We started off slow again,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “I thought we missed open shot af­ter open shot.

“I think they stayed en­gaged de­fen­sively and they just kept trust­ing and eventually [shots] started to fall. Once the bas­ket opened up, the way we were de­fend­ing we were in great shape.”

The Hawks im­proved to 3-0 with a 106-95 vic­tory over the Sacra­mento Kings in At­lanta.

Paul Mill­sap and Dwight Howard both posted dou­ble-dou­bles for the Hawks, who led by dou­ble dig­its but needed a fourth-quar­ter surge to win af­ter let­ting the Kings back into it.

Mill­sap fin­ished with 13 points and 14 re­bounds and Howard had 18 points and 11 re­bounds. Four other At­lanta play­ers scored in dou­ble fig­ures for the win in a bruis­ing con­test in which the teams com­bined for 54 fouls. –

Photo: AFP

Dwyane Wade of the Chicago Bulls drives to the bas­ket against the Brook­lyn Nets dur­ing the sec­ond half at Bar­clays Cen­ter on Oc­to­ber 31.

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