Coming off one of their most embarrassing defeats of the season, the Los Angeles Clippers will try to maintain their grasp on a top-six spot in the Western Conference with a home matchup Monday night against the Chicago Bulls.
The Clippers (39-36) were trounced at home 131-110 by the New OrleansPelicans on Saturday. The setback left Los Angeles with losses in three of its last five games, and seven games remain in the regular season.
The Clippers don't expect Paul George (knee) to return before the end of the regular season, with fellow star Kawhi Leonard held to 12 points on 4-of-16 shooting from the field against the Pelicans. He missed all six of his attempts from 3-point range.
Leonard left the game with a facial contusion.
"We get stagnant at times trying to look for Kawhi, and when he doesn't have a good one, we just have to continue to run our offense," Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said. "We've been doing a good job of it since Jan. 1, but tonight was one of those nights."
Bones Hyland ended up leading the Clippers with 18 points. It was just the seventh game Hyland has played for the Clippers since he was acquired in a February trade from the Denver Nuggets.
After appearing to get their defense in order following a recent lull, the Clippers saw the Pelicans shoot 53.1 percent from the field and 61.8 percent from 3-point range.
"It's back to the drawing board," Lue said. "There's things we can clean up; taking care of the basketball, getting back in transition defensively and understanding what we're doing defensively."
The Bulls (36-38) will remain in Los Angeles after Sunday afternoon's 118-108 victory over the Lakers. UCLA product Zach LaVine scored 32 points for Chicago, while former Clippers and Lakers defensive standout Patrick Beverley made a general pest of himself with 10 points against the team that traded him last month.
After one late basket over Lakers star LeBron James, Beverley reached toward the ground to give the "too small" gesture.
"I do it to everybody, you know," Beverley said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. "Just having fun, getting lost in the game. We're not construction workers, we're not guys that have to get up at 4 o'clock in the morning. We're professional basketball players. It's all about having fun."
The Bulls' real fun has come in a run where they have won five of their last six games and seven of nine. Sunday's victory helped Chicago solidify its spot as the final team currently qualified for the Eastern Conference play-in tournament.
The only negative out of Sunday's game for the Bulls was the ejection of Nikola Vucevic, who received two quick technical fouls for a verbal outburst toward officials just before halftime. He finished with four points in 15 minutes.
"It was a bad decision by me to react the way I did," Vucevic said. "In a game as important as it was for us, I've got to be better, control my emotions in the moment. My mistake. My teammates came through once again for us. Makes me feel less bad about myself."
--Field Level Media