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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, December 18th (All times eastern)

Los Angeles Clippers (6-21) at Chicago Bulls (16-8), 8 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Chicago Bulls shoot for their season-high eighth straight win tonight when they open up a brief two-game homestand by welcoming Vinny Del Negro and the Los Angeles Clippers to the United Center.

Carlos Boozer scored a season-high 34 points and grabbed 12 rebounds on Wednesday, as the streaking Bulls dominated the Toronto Raptors, 110-93, at Air Canada Centre.

It was not all good news for the Bulls, however, as the team leaned that star center Joakim Noah needed surgery to repair torn ligaments in his right thumb. Noah, who had 11 points and 11 rebounds in 26 minutes of action on against the Raptors, is expected miss the next eight to 10 weeks.

"It's a long-term decision," Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said. "I am confident that we have more than enough players to get through this."

Luol Deng tallied 19 points for Chicago, which got 13 points from Kyle Korver. Derrick Rose played through multiple injuries, including a sprained right wrist, and chipped in with six points and 11 assists.

The Bulls, who will also face Philadelphia on its quick residency, are an impressive 10-2 in the Windy City this year.

The Clippers, meanwhile, are hoping to build on their first road win of the season, a 109-99 triumph over Detroit at The Palace on Friday. Blake Griffin put together his 14th consecutive double-double with 24 points and 17 rebounds in that one for Los Angeles, which won for the first time in 12 tries on the road this season and ended a 15-game skid as the visitor dating back to last year.

Ryan Gomes added 18 points, while Eric Gordon chipped in with 15 points and six assists for the Clippers.

"We just came out aggressively tonight, but more importantly in the third quarter," Gomes said. "That first five minutes of the third, we kind of turned it up. We got stops and we got scores and that is what opened the door for us and put more pressure on them to execute better. I think that everyone contributed on the offensive end but it is most important that we do well on the defensive end."

Tonight's game, the finale of a three-game trek for LA, marks the return of Clips coach Del Negro to the United Center. Del Negro coached in Chicago the previous two seasons in which the Bulls finished 41-41 and lost in the first round of the playoffs in each of those years.

"I'm very proud of the job that my staff and myself did in Chicago for two years," Del Negro said.

LA swept the home-and-home season a year ago and Chicago did the same in 2008-09.

12/18 10:37:25 ET


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