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Preview: L.A. Clippers At Chicago

When: 8:00 PM ET, Thursday, December 10, 2015

Where: United Center, Chicago, Illinois

The last time the Chicago Bulls were at home they suffered through perhaps their worst loss of the season. The Bulls have yet to pick up the pieces and return to the United Center on Thursday to begin a five-game homestand against the Los Angeles Clippers, who finally appear to be putting it all together.

Chicago followed up back-to-back home setbacks – both of which involved fourth-quarter collapses – with a 105-100 loss at Boston on Wednesday, again faltering down the stretch. Jimmy Butler scored a career-high 36 points for the Bulls while making 12-of-14 free throws, but his teammates combined to go 4-of-9 from the line as the squad matched its longest losing streak since a four-game slide two Decembers ago. The Clippers have won six of seven and three in a row following a 109-95 win in Milwaukee on Wednesday. Chris Paul, playing his second game since a two-game layoff due to a rib injury, handed out a season-high 18 assists while adding 18 points for Los Angeles, which is two games into a five-game road trip.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, TNT, Prime Ticket (Los Angeles)

ABOUT THE CLIPPERS (13-9): The recipient of many of Paul’s assists was J.J. Redick, who had a season-high 31 points while making 6-of-9 3-pointers, one game after he was 1-of-9 from the floor in a win at Minnesota. Los Angeles hit 10 more triples than Milwaukee, which made Doc Rivers’ squad 8-1 when it wins that category. Paul had 28 points and 12 assists in a 10-point victory at Chicago on March 1, the Clippers’ fifth consecutive triumph in the Windy City.

ABOUT THE BULLS (11-8): Head coach Fred Hoiberg said he liked his team’s effort in the loss to Boston, but some of his veteran players are struggling to determine why that effort is not translating to wins. “This is our first time really going through it,” guard Derrick Rose told reporters after scoring 12 points and recording six assists. “The nucleus of this team, we’ve been together for a long time. We’re just trying to figure things out.” Hoiberg made one alteration by inserting Taj Gibson into the starting lineup in place of Nikola Mirotic, who had started the first 18 games of the season, but it had little impact and Mirotic (22 minutes) still played more than Gibson (20).

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Clippers PF Blake Griffin has three straight double-doubles after posting 21 points and 14 rebounds at Milwaukee.

2. Butler has at least one steal in 27 straight games, the longest active streak in the NBA and tied for his career high.

3. Los Angeles SG Jamal Crawford is 12-of-20 from 3-point range over his last three games.

PREDICTION: Clippers 102, Bulls 98