Clippers host Chicago Bulls. Rose & Gasol out for Chicago

Ex-Laker and Bulls center speaks to the media prior to Monday's game at Staples Center against the Clippers. Gasol was a late scratch due to a strained calf.
Ex-Laker and Bulls center speaks to the media prior to Monday’s game at Staples Center against the Clippers. Gasol was a late scratch due to a strained calf.

Another early-season tall task for the Los Angeles Clippers as they host the former Laker Pau Gasol and the Chicago Bulls tonight at Staples Center.

This is the third early season test for the Clippers against one of the NBA‘s elite teams. L.A, lost the first two to Golden State and the defending champion San Antonio Spurs.

Coming off of a 99-90 loss to Indiana the Bulls (7-3) will be without guard Derrick Rose who is doubtful for the second straight game due to a hamstring injury. Due to the well-documented knee injuries the Clippers ( haven’t gone up against Rose since December 2011. Rose has averaged 31 points and 12 assists in his last three games against the Clippers.

Without him in the line-up Chicago’s a much different team relying on that front line of Joakim Noah and newly acquired big man and former L.A. Laker Pau Gasol.

Gasol has had a rebirth of sorts with the Bulls after the last three seasons with the Lakers where he felt unappreciated being included in many different trade proposals. The Spaniard is averaging 19 points, 12 assists and three blocked shots.

Unfortunately for the L.A. basketball fans, they’ll have to wait to catch Gasol in his bright red Bulls uniform. The two-time NBA champion with the Lakers was a late scratch because of a calf strain suffered in the loss to Indiana.

“It just felt sore and it was like tight.”” said Gasol prior to tonight’s game. “I was able to finish the game anyway. Limited but finished. It just didn’t recover quickly.”

Gasol went through shoot-around this morning at UCLA in hopes of playing tonight against the Clippers but the muscle cramped up and was even more sore.

“I really wanted to play this team (Clippers) badly.”

His next visit to Staples Center is January 29th when the Bulls will take on his former team, the Lakers.

The Clippers (5-3) are coming off of a 120-107 win over the Phoenix Suns at Staples Center which saw them play their best game of the season thus far.

Los Angeles is led by its “Big 3” of point guard Chris Paul (18 pts, 10 asst per game), forward Blake Griffin (24 pts, 7 rebs, 4 assts) and center DeAndre Jordan (9 pts, 12 rebs, 3 blks).

Jordan, who is playing in his 248th consecutive game, had 18 rebounds to go along with 12 points and seven blocks in Saturday’s win over Phoenix.

“D.J. is one of those guys that thankfully doesn’t miss games,” said Paul. “I almost couldn’t imagine him not out there, because he covers so much on the defensive end.”

To hear from Jordan and top Clippers reserve Jamal Crawford on tonight’s game and going up against a rejuvenated Pau Gasol click on the video with this story.

Tip off is set for 7pm.

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