LOS ANGELES – Blake Griffin scored 18 points, but was ejected midway through the third quarter and the Los Angeles Clippers could not overcome the loss of their superstar, falling to the Chicago Bulls 83-80, snapping their three-game winning streak.
Griffin had 18 points and 11 rebounds before he was ejected for a hard flagrant 2 foul on Taj Gibson. At the time, the Clippers trailed by 14 points, but immediately went on an 11-3 run after the forward's departure to cut Chicago's lead to six points.
The Clippers second unit stayed on the court to start the fourth quarter and tied the game before the Bulls inserted their starters and went on a 7-0 run to take a commanding lead. Wesley Johnson and Josh Smith led the Clippers bench with 17 combined points.
Chris Paul finished with 12 points and hit a three-pointer from the parking lot with just under three minutes left to play in the game, to get the Clippers within three.
But LA's Achille's heel hurt them again as the team's inability to close out close games down the stretch haunted them in the Windy City. With the Clippers trailing by two and less than a minute left to play, the Clippers failed to score on three consecutive possessions, including a two-on-one fast break and the Bulls hung on for the victory.
Pau Gasol led Chicago with 24 points and two blocks. The former Lakers center was also 3-for-3 from beyond the arc, tripling his previous three-point total before the game.
Jimmy Butler had 14 points with 8 assists and Aaron Brooks added 10 points off the bench.
The Clippers will look to get back in the W column on Saturday in New York when they square off with the Brooklyn Nets.