Rapid reaction: Clippers 100, Bulls 99

December, 18, 2010
12/18/10
9:59
PM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- Let's take a quick look at how the Los Angeles Clippers snapped the Chicago Bulls' seven-game winning streak, winning 100-99 on Saturday night at the United Center.

How it happened: Playing without Joakim Noah for the first time since he underwent thumb surgery, the Bulls simply couldn't stop Blake Griffin and the Clippers. They lacked the energy they usually play with on both ends of the floor, especially defensively, and couldn't bring it all the way back at the end. Derrick Rose missed the second of two foul shots in the final second of regulation that would have tied the game up and possibly sent it into overtime.

What it means: The Bulls miss Noah badly. This isn't exactly a newsflash, but the difference on defense without him on the floor is staggering. The Bulls looked lost without him at times. Taj Gibson, Kurt Thomas and Omer Asik could not fill his shoes and struggled alongside Carlos Boozer to find any kind of groove down on the blocks. It will take all of them a lot of time to figure out how to play with one another while Noah is out. It doesn't help any that Gibson suffered a concussion during the game.

Stat of the night: Gibson, Thomas and Asik combined for 12 fouls and 9 points.

What's next: The Bulls have two days off before facing the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night. Coach Tom Thibodeau has a major challenge on his hands trying to figure out how the Bulls are going to keep rolling without Noah. He said not much would change without the floppy-haired big man on the floor. For one night at least, he was wrong.

Nick Friedell | email

Chicago Bulls beat reporter
Nick Friedell is the Chicago Bulls beat reporter for ESPN Chicago. Friedell is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and joined ESPNChicago.com for its launch in April 2009.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Derrick Rose
PTS AST STL MIN
15.9 4.3 0.5 31.1
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Noah 11.3
AssistsJ. Noah 5.4
StealsJ. Butler 1.9
BlocksJ. Noah 1.5