Clippers on Rose-less Bulls: ‘They’ve found a way to play without him’

It’s been three years since the Clippers have played against the Chicago Bulls when Derrick Rose was in the lineup. 

And once again, the Clippers won’t have to worry about defending the point guard for tonight (starting at 7 p.m. on Prime Ticket) at Staples Center. Rose is still out with a hamstring injury, according to the Chicago Tribune. This is the second consecutive game he’ll miss with the injury. 

It’s been so long since the Clippers had to defend Rose that the last time they did, Chris Paul had just been traded to the Clippers in December of 2011.

"For them, I think they’ve found a way. He’s missed some time, obviously, the last couple of years," Jamal Crawford said. "They’ve found a way to play without him and still do well without him. Obviously, they’re a better team with him, but they’ve gotten used to that. You still can’t let your guard down." 

The Clippers last played Chicago with Rose in the lineup on Dec. 30, 2011 and Rose had 29 points and 16 assists. Chris Paul had 15 points and 14 assists in a must-see matchup between the point guards.

Asked if he could remember the last time he played against Rose, Jordan said: "Oh man, it’s been a minute. Last year, he got injured the game before. He’s a problem (to defend) … We definitely want to play against him. I’m just hoping he gets better."

Rose has been plagued by injuries in his career and often heavily criticized for comments he’s made about his future after basketball. 

On Monday, Rose told The Chicago Tribune: "There’s no need for anyone to play through injuries with the talent we have on this team."

Pau Gasol — the former Lakers star — returns to Los Angeles with the Bulls (7-3) playing well, while the Lakers are off to a 1-9 start, their worst 10-game start in history of the franchise.

The Clippers will have a test with Gasol and Joakim Noah and Co.

"He’s fit in seamlessly over there," Crawford said of Gasol. "It’s been an easy transition for him. Obviously looks like the Pau of all those great Lakers teams. Looks like he’s having fun again … Looks like he’s being back to the Pau Gasol everybody loves."

Gasol is averaging 18.6 points per game and 10.6 rebounds. Rose, who after tonight will have missed more games (six) than he’s played (five), is averaging 18 points and 5.4 assists. 

It’s undeniable that Chicago has a different look without Rose.

"A lot of teams are two different teams," Jordan said. "If Chris doesn’t play we’re a different team. If Blake (Griffin) doesn’t play, we’re a different team. With Derrick, he’s such a problem in transition."

The Clippers (5-3) didn’t have much of a problem in their last game, beating Phoenix 120-107. It was their first complete game of the season, and they’ll try to piggyback on that momentum at home before they embark on a seven-game roadtrip.