The Clippers were warned by Coach Doc Rivers before their game Sunday that the Chicago Bulls would be a “dangerous, angry team” without Derrick Rose.
Apparently the Clippers took Rivers’ words to heart, as they coasted to a 121-82 win over the Bulls at Staples Center, the largest margin of victory in franchise history.
“It was the imperfect storm in some ways because there was no Rose,” Rivers said. “But I just thought our defensive energy was fantastic. We were sharp offensively. We were making shots and we were moving the ball.”
Rivers didn’t want his team to let up after learning Rose, a three-time All-Star and the NBA’s most valuable player in 2011, would miss the game because of an injury to his right knee. Rose will have surgery Monday in Chicago to repair torn cartilage, Chicago Coach Tom Thibodeau said.
The Clippers had six players score to double figures, four of them starters.
Every Clipper played, including veteran Antawn Jamison, who appeared in his first game of the season. And all scored at least two points in this blowout, as they opened a 42-point lead in the second half.
The Clippers shot a season-high 58.5% from the field, showing no signs of being a tired team in the second game of a back-to-back and fourth in five days.
They shot 38.1% (eight for 21) from three-point range and limited the Bulls to 39.5% shooting.
“We know what our defense is capable of,” said Chris Paul, who had 16 points and 17 assists. He had his 14th double-double in the Clippers’ 15 games in points and assists.
“We moved the ball extremely well,” he said. “The ball never really got stuck.”
Jared Dudley, who has been dealing with tendinitis in his right knee, had his best game of the season, scoring
a season-high 21 points on eight-for-10 shooting, including four for five from three-point range.
“We’ve been shooting the ball pretty well,” Dudley said. “Me personally, the same shots I had [Sunday] I’ve had all season. I just feel more confident, getting into a little better groove.”
The entire Clippers team was in a groove
Blake Griffin had another double-double, scoring 15 points on six-for-10 shooting, and grabbing 12 rebounds to go along with three blocked shots.
J.J. Redick had 19 points on eight-for-11 shooting, Darren Collison had 14 points and Jamison 11 points.
“When we dig in and really want to, we’re tough defensively and offensively,” Griffin said. “When we run the offense like we we’re taught and play defense the way we’ve been taught, we’re much, much tougher.”
The 39-point margin of victory topped any by the Los Angeles Clippers, Buffalo Braves or San Diego Clippers. The Braves twice beat opponents by 37 points, Washington on Jan. 14, 1978 (130-93), and Cleveland on Dec. 5, 1975 (125-88).
It was the Clippers’ third-highest-scoring game of the season.