Two statistics pretty much guaranteed this outcome. Blake Griffin, 4-13 from the line, and Chicago 12-26 on three pointers. The Bulls have the best defense in the NBA ranked by points per possession. If you don't convert your freebies, and they hit a season high from deep, then you're just not going to beat them.
It's far from certain that the outcome of this game would have been different had those stats not been thus. But what is certain is that there was no way the Clippers were winning this game given the situation. And so the home winning streak ends at nine, just in time to head out on the road for eleven games. Not really the momentum boost we were looking for.
What's surprising is that the Clippers actually shot a pretty good percentage in this game. Chicago holds its opponents to about 42% from the field on the season - lowest in the NBA. The Clippers shot almost 47% tonight, better than their season average. But LA never really got the pace of game they wanted. In a game in which they shot OK and didn't turn the ball over much, they scored only 88 points - well below their recent output.
The Clippers clearly missed Eric Gordon tonight, but perhaps not for the reason you think. The Clippers offense, as evidenced by their shooting, wasn't terrible; but on the defensive end, they were totally incapable of dealing with Derrick Rose. Rose finished with 32 points on 11 for 18 shooting. It was probably Rose's best game of the season - it was certainly the first time he's scored 30 or more points while shooting over 60% from the field. Gordon is the Clippers best defender - he wouldn't have stopped Rose tonight, but maybe he could have slowed him down a little.
The other place the Clippers missed Gordon was in depth. Randy Foye has done an admirable job filling in for Gordon, and was adequate again tonight with 14 points on 6 for 12 shooting. But with Foye in the starting lineup, it makes an already thin bench that much thinner. Since Rasual Butler has been back in the rotation as the backup shooting guard, he's made 2 of 17 shots and he was 0 for 4 tonight. At least Rasual isn't afraid to shoot (though maybe he should be); other than Ike Diogu, the Clippers reserves frequently seem unwilling to shoot the ball. Eric Bledsoe passes up high percentage shots in order to drive deep into the paint with nowhere really to go.
Gordon, Kaman and Smith are all listed as day-to-day, and perhaps significantly all are going on the Odyssey with the team. We still don't know when any of them will play, but presumably they wouldn't be traveling with the team if there was no chance they'd play on the trip. For the sake of depth, let's hope that one or more of them get back sooner rather than later.