LOS ANGELES - The explosive Los Angeles Clippers might not be the best team for the Chicago Bulls to measure life without Derrick Rose again, but if Sunday served any indication, the Bulls are approaching difficult waters.
Without Rose, who suffered a torn medial meniscus in his right knee Friday and will undergo potential season-ending surgery on Monday, the Bulls could not keep up as the relentless Clippers beat them 121-82 at sold out Staples Center.
The onslaught was immediate, consistent and unyielding, with the Clippers waylaying the Bulls with a 65-point first half on 62.5 percent shooting and then building leads as big as 40 points in a thunderous second half.
And with Rose on his way home to Chicago, the Bulls were helpless.
"First off, all prayers to Derrick. I'm hoping he's going to be fine and I wish him a speedy and healthy recovery," Bulls forward Carlos Boozer said. "But it was a tough day for us today. It's tough adjusting to him not out on the court."
It was another story entirely for the Clippers, who may have played their most complete game of the season. Their persistent defense complemented an offense that got contributions across the board.
Clippers guard Jared Dudley, a key offseason acquisition who has been slow to get untracked, sank four 3-pointers and had 21 points, and fellow summer addition J.J. Redick added 19 points to lead six Clippers in double figures.
"Tonight we executed our game plan," said Clippers guard Chris Paul. "We moved the ball extremely well. The ball never stuck. J.J was knocking down shots. Jared (as well). It was a very well balanced game."
Most importantly, Clippers stars Blake Griffin and Paul had to exert minimal effort on the back end of a two-games-in-two-days set, neither playing more than 27 minutes and both resting the entire fourth quarter for the first time this season.
"We were sitting over there on the baseline and it was the first time we sat in the fourth quarter and we were like 'We miss this feeling,''' Griffin said. "Hopefully we can keep that up. It will help, especially down the stretch."
Griffin finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds and Paul added 16 points and 17 assists.
Even without their two stars on the floor in the final period, the Clippers outscored the Bulls 25-9 and limited them to 4-of-25 shooting from the field.
"I thought today was a good game for the second unit as far as continuity," said Clippers back-up point guard Darren Collison, who had 14 points and five assists. "The second unit is very, very talented, and once we start playing, I think we'll be fine."
Said Chicago center Joakim Noah: "They played a great game; there really isn't much else to say."
Bulls forward Luol Deng had 22 points and Boozer and Mike Dunleavy each added 14, but Chicago was done in by its 39.5 percent shooting and the Clippers' 58.5 percent shooting.
The key now is carrying on without Rose.
"We'll move forward, but it's tough to move forward without him," Boozer said. "We'll depend on each other as we have in the past. You go through an adjustment period when you lose a player of his caliber so we'll go through that adjustment period. Tonight was a tough night but we play tomorrow night so we have to bounce back and pick ourselves back up."
Notes: Bulls G Derrick Rose is scheduled to undergo surgery on the torn medial meniscus in his right knee Monday. The length of Rose's absence depends on the surgery, with one possibility being reattaching the meniscus, a procedure that could cost Rose the remainder of the season. If so, it will essentially mean Rose will miss his second season in two years after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during the 2012 playoffs. "There's of course the disappointment for Derrick because of the type of person he is," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "He's such a great teammate along with being a great player...To a man, the Clippers were sympathetic regarding Rose's injury. "It's awful. You want Derrick playing," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. "I'm just hoping he's back healthy this year. It would be great for (Thibodeau), but more importantly it would be great for the Bulls and for Derrick. He deserves it."