CHICAGO (AP) – Chicago shook off its poor recent form with an authoritative 104-81 win against NBA champion San Antonio on Thursday, building their lead in the NBA Central Division while handing the Spurs their heaviest loss of the season.
As convincing as the Bulls’ victory was, it was put in the shade by the Los Angeles Clippers 39-point win over a disappointing Brooklyn, while the day’s other games saw Boston and Utah record narrow victories over Portland and Milwaukee respectively.
Chicago built its Central lead out to 4-1/2 games by cruising past the Spurs.
Derrick Rose scored 22 points, hitting 9 of 16 shots, to lead six Chicago players in double figures including Pau Gasol who had 12 points and 17 rebounds.
The Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard scored all of his team-leading 16 points in the first half, but as he fell away, so did his team as Chicago outscored its opponent 31-20 in the third quarter.
The Clippers recorded their biggest-ever win over Brooklyn, taking the game 123-84.
Blake Griffin scored 22 of his 24 points in the first half, when the Clippers led by 33 points, while JJ Redick and Jamal Crawford added 17 points each. With Kevin Garnett resting, the Nets were led by Mason Plumlee with 16 points.
The Clippers put the game away in the first half, when they shot 66 percent and Jordan had already secured his double-double.
Boston’s Evan Turner hit a 3-pointer with 1.9 seconds left to give the Celtics a 90-89 win against a Portland team missing LaMarcus Aldridge, who will miss six-to -eight weeks with a torn thumb ligament.
Utah’s Gordon Hayward scored 13 of his game-high 24 points in the fourth quarter as the Jazz held on for the 101-89 win after the Bucks missed their last five shots.