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NBA Scores 2016: The Bulls could be better than we thought they were

Chicago pushes league-best Clippers to the wire.

NBA: Chicago Bulls at Los Angeles Clippers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

When the Chicago Bulls put Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade next to Jimmy Butler, the sole concern was perimeter shooting.

Neither Rondo nor Wade were known as marksmen from distance, and with the NBA growing heavily reliant on the three ball, Chicago was expected to flounder after moving on from Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah.

But 13 games into the season, the Bulls have proven otherwise.

Wade hit five triples in Chicago’s Saturday night loss to a league-best Los Angeles Clippers team, and the Bulls are a middle of the road, three-point team (largely thanks to Nikola Mirotic) instead of bottom dwellers. And at 8-5, they’re in firm standing in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.

Saturday was a great night for basketball fans of all types. The Sixers continued to show promise, James Harden shook someone out of their sneakers and Blake Griffin completely annihilated a Bulls big man.

So if you slept in, here’s what you missed:

Blake Griffin posterizes Robin Lopez

The Clippers were in dire need of a boost trailing Chicago in the second quarter. Then up goes Griffin with a monster tomahawk on top of poor Ro-Lo.

Here’s a fan’s view, who had one of the best seats in the house for a monster dunk:

James Harden puts Dante Exum in the blender

Harden’s on a tear of historic proportions. And when making history, someone’s got to get exposed.

Saturday night, that someone was Utah’s Dante Exum, who thought it was a good idea to guard The Beard near the half court line.

Here’s another angle, where you can see Exum pressing Harden mid-court before falling victim to a vicious step-back.

Joel Embiid sends Devin Booker’s layup packing

We had an idea Embiid was going to be good, but nobody could have known he’d be this dominant this quickly. And he’s equally as imposing on the defensive end, as evidenced by this rocket block of poor Devin Booker’s layup.

Al Horford’s 2-for-1 game-winner

In Horford’s return from an October 30 concussion in practice, he helped seal the deal for Boston with a go-ahead.

On the ensuing possession, he ruined Detroit’s chances at overtime with this block on Aron Baynes.

Boston, who’d lost five of its nine games without Horford, surely welcomed him back with open arms. It’s also unclear why Baynes was taking the game-tying shot.

Saturday’s top performers

Blake Griffin (26 points, 8-for-15 shooting, 10-for-10 free throws, 13 rebounds, 5 assists)

Griffin gave the Clippers the boost needed to crawl back from a 19-point deficit. Not to mention he destroyed Robin Lopez. Griffin also kept the ball after the win.

James Harden (31 points, 10 assists)

Still trying to join Oscar Robertson and Tiny Archibald as the only players in NBA history to average 30 points and 10 assists in a season.

Anthony Davis (38 points, 15-for-27 shooting, 16 rebounds, 3 blocks)

Davis has played like an MVP, but the Pelicans are 4-10. Maybe Jrue Holiday’s return will right the ship.

Joel Embiid (20 minutes, 26 points, 9-for-14 shooting, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks)

Starting to look like the Hakeem Olajuwon comparisons are starting to pan out. What will Embiid’s numbers be when his minutes restriction is lifted

Kevin Durant (33 points, 10-for-17 shooting, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, 1 block)

Seemed like Durant couldn’t miss in front of a rowdy Milwaukee Bucks crowd.

Final scores

Rockets 111, Jazz 102 [The Dream Shake recap | SLC Dunk recap]

Warriors 124, Bucks 121 [Golden State of Mind recap | Brew Hoop recap]

Pelicans 121, Hornets 116, OT [The Bird Writes recap | At the Hive recap]

Heat 114, Wizards 111 [Hot Hot Hoops recap | Bullets Forever recap]

Magic 95, Mavericks 87 [Orlando Pinstripe recap | Mavs Money Ball recap]

Celtics 94, Pistons 92 [Celtics Blog recap | Detroit Bad Boys recap]

76ers 120, Suns 105 [Liberty Ballers recap | Bright Side of the Sun recap]

Grizzlies 93, T’Wolves 71 [Grizzly Bear Blues recap | Canis Hoopus recap]

Clippers 102, Bulls 95 [Clips Nation recap | Blog a Bull recap]