While Derrick Rose headed home to Chicago for knee surgery, the Bulls began life without their superstar guard again.
The Los Angeles Clippers showed them just how ugly that life could be.
Jared Dudley scored a season-high 21 points, Chris Paul added 16 points and 17 assists, and the Clippers jumped all over the Bulls in Rose’s absence for a 121-82 victory Sunday.
J.J. Redick scored 19 points and Blake Griffin had 15 points and 12 rebounds in the Pacific Division-leading Clippers’ seventh win in nine games.
This was no ordinary blowout, either: The Clippers’ 39-point margin of victory was the largest in franchise history.
The Clippers figured Rose’s latest injury was weighing on the Bulls’ minds. Los Angeles led for all but the first two minutes, and even the reserves surged ahead by 42 points in the fourth quarter.
"We jumped on them so quickly that I thought it had to have had a mental effect," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. "You don’t lose a D. Rose. … We came out and played unbelievable, and I just thought the mental part of that had to be difficult. Very few teams could have fought through that."
Luol Deng scored 22 points as the Bulls flopped in their first game since Rose tore cartilage in his right knee Friday night in Portland.
Carlos Boozer and Mike Dunleavy scored 14 points apiece, but the Bulls couldn’t keep up defensively with the Clippers — and the Chicago reserves fell apart while getting outscored 25-9 in the fourth quarter.
"It’s tough for all of us with Derrick being out like this," said Joakim Noah, who had eight points. "We’re just hoping for the best with him, and see how it goes. Derrick is a big part of this team. I know how hard he rehabbed this whole time to be on the court."
Kirk Hinrich had nine points and seven assists while starting in place of Rose, who missed last season after tearing a ligament in his left knee. Rose played in just 10 games before getting hurt again, but the Bulls are hoping he won’t be out as long this time.
"We’ve done it before," Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau said, noting Rose has missed much of the past two seasons since his 2011 MVP campaign.
"This is year No. 3 now, so we’ve got experience doing it," he added. "But we’ve got to get the fight. That’s the first part of it — the determination, the fight and the will. The core of the team in there is the same core we had last year."
While Chicago foundered, Los Angeles finished strong in a stretch of four games in five days, surpassing a pair of 37-point wins by the Buffalo Braves during the late 1970s for the biggest margin of victory in franchise history.
The Clippers played back-to-back afternoon home games this weekend, an occasional hazard of sharing a building with the Lakers and the NHL’s Kings. But a day after blowing a 20-point lead in a victory over Sacramento, the Clippers showed little fatigue from their packed schedule — and the starters got the fourth quarter off as a reward.
"It’s the best game this season, we got the opportunity to sit all quarter," Paul said. "That’s huge for our team. This was our fourth game in five nights. We could have come in with a lot of excuses, but we did what we were supposed to do."
Los Angeles got out to an early double-digit lead with sharp perimeter shooting from Redick and Dudley, who combined for 29 points in the first half. The Clippers got remarkable performances from the two new additions to their starting lineup, with Dudley and Redick combining to make 16 of their 21 shots.
Dudley had the most impressive game of his first season with the Clippers, hitting four 3-pointers while passing his previous season high for points shortly after halftime. Redick was similarly sharp, providing the consistent perimeter scoring Los Angeles sought with his arrival.
"When they’re hitting shots like that, man … " Griffin said. "Even when they’re not, the pressure they put on a defense is great. That contributes to the whole offense."
Antawn Jamison finally made his Clippers debut in their 15th game, hitting a 3-pointer in the third quarter for his first basket of his 16th NBA season. Jamison, who moved down the hallway from the Lakers in the offseason, finished with 11 points in 17 minutes.
NOTES:The Clippers surpassed their 33-point victory over the Bulls on Feb. 17, 1981, back when the club played in San Diego. … Chicago has lost three straight to the Clippers. … Marquis Teague, designated by Thibodeau as Hinrich’s new backup, went scoreless with one assist in 20 minutes. … DeAndre Jordan didn’t attempt a shot until Paul found him with a half-court lob for a dramatic dunk with 3:41 left in the third quarter.