LOS ANGELES — After a season-long, five-game losing streak in which four losses were by five points or fewer, the Chicago Bulls needed a victory.
LOS ANGELES — After a season-long, five-game losing streak in which four losses were by five points or fewer, the Chicago Bulls needed a victory. They got it with ease. Luol Deng had 23 points and nine rebounds, rookie Derrick Rose added 21 points and six assists and the Bulls blew open a close game in the third quarter to beat the short-handed Los Angeles Clippers 95-75 Wednesday night. Tyrus Thomas had 16 points and 10 rebounds, Ben Gordon had 11 points and a season-high eight assists, and Joakim Noah added 10 points and eight rebounds for the Bulls (19-27), who outscored the Clippers 26-9 in the third period to take a 20-point lead. Los Angeles wasn’t closer than 15 points after that. "I thought our ball movement was the difference," Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said. "We had a good flow tonight. Winning builds confidence, that’s the bottom line. We just have to build, play smarter, execute better down the stretch. I like our mindset right now." By beating the Clippers for the third straight time, after losing 13 of the previous 15 games between the teams, the Bulls avoided their longest losing streak since early in the 2006-07 season. Chicago has won six of its last 19 games. "It was tough, it was real tough," Rose said about the last five weeks, when the Bulls went from 13-14 to 18-27. "It feels good. We haven’t had a blowout for a while. When we’re moving the ball like that, it’s hard to beat us." Rookie Eric Gordon had 19 points and seven assists to match a career high, Fred Jones added 11 points and Al Thornton had 10 points and six rebounds for the Clippers (10-35), who shot under 40 percent for the 13th time this season while losing for the 17th time in 19 games. "This wasn’t one of those good efforts. I was really disappointed," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "We came out and laid an egg in the third quarter." The Bulls shot 11-of-20 while the Clippers went 4-of-19 in the third period. Overall, Chicago shot 47.4 percent to 36 percent for Los Angeles and out-rebounded the Clippers 52-33. Baron Davis and Marcus Camby returned to action for the Clippers, with Davis getting three points and four assists while shooting 1-of-10. Camby had six points and six rebounds. Davis missed 13 games with a bruised tailbone and Camby five with a sprained ankle. "Obviously they look rusty," Dunleavy said. "These are guys that haven’t had practice time at all." Davis agreed with his coach, saying: "It felt a little different than playing one-on-one or two-on-two out there. At this point, I just have to find my legs and work myself back into shape." Zach Randolph (sore knee), Chris Kaman (strained arch), Mardy Collins (strained calf) and rookie Mike Taylor (broken thumb) remain sidelined. Davis said if not for the injuries, he believes the Clippers would be contending for a playoff berth. "We’re just going to continue to work hard and wait for everybody to come back and get into a groove and a rhythm," he said. "We still have the second half of the season to prove who we can be going into next year." Camby said he’s still a few days from being back to where he wants to be. "But I felt well enough to go out there and get some minutes in and compete with the guys," he said. "It was definitely a frustrating loss for us, but we’re starting to get guys back out there. I think we’re out of sync as a team." Rose scored four points during an 11-2 run to begin the third quarter to give the Bulls a 58-46 lead, and the Clippers didn’t threaten after that. It was 73-53 entering the final period. DeAndre Jordan outscored the Bulls 6-1 by himself early in the fourth quarter, moving the Clippers within 15 points. But Thomas scored six straight points to make it 83-62 with six minutes to play and the Bulls breezed from there. The Clippers outscored Chicago 10-2 to tie the game at 29. Neither team led by more than six points during the remainder of the half, which ended with the Bulls on top 47-44. ______ Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.