Behind door No. 1: Baron Davis.
And there was a surprise guest behind door No. 2: Marcus Camby.
Despite those seemingly uplifting developments, the door slammed shut on the Clippers once again with the Bulls manhandling them, 95-75, on Wednesday night at Staples Center. Hitting the snooze button in the third quarter -- letting the Bulls go on a 20-6 run -- was their undoing.
Clippers Coach Mike Dunleavy said his team "laid an egg" in the third quarter. That's been a second-half trend, of late. It was the Clippers 17th loss in their last 19 games and third straight after Friday's win against Oklahoma City. They are 10-35.
So, who did the door slamming for the Bulls? Take your pick.
There was a multi-pronged attack from Chicago, which stopped a five-game losing streak. Forward Luol Deng was devastating with 23 points and nine rebounds, and rookie sensation Derrick Rose added 21 points and six assists. And the Clippers will certainly have lasting visions of Joakim Noah's one-handed dunks.
The day had started so well for the beleaguered Clippers.
In the morning, rookie Eric Gordon and second-year man Al Thornton were named to the NBA's rookie challenge game next month in Phoenix during All-Star weekend. Rose, of course, was named to the rookie team as well.
Late in the afternoon, the Clippers ended guard Fred Jones' long wait and signed him, providing job security and a $400,000-plus contract for the rest of the season.
His second 10-day contract was due to expire after Wednesday's game, and he was given the good news by Dunleavy in the hallway beforehand.
Oh, then there was the matter of the game.
Davis, who had been out because of a bruised tailbone, played his first game of 2009.
And although Dunleavy said before the game that Camby (sprained left ankle) wouldn't be playing against the Bulls, Camby went in at the same time as Davis late in the first quarter.
Dunleavy said this would be more like a practice session for Davis, and that turned out to be accurate. It was like a rag-tag practice.
The rust was considerable for Davis, who went one for 10 from the field and finished with three points in nearly 22 minutes.
Camby played 22 minutes and finished with six points and six rebounds. Gordon led with the Clippers with 19 points, and the only other two players in double figures were Jones (11) and Thornton (10).
"It felt good to be back out there knowing that I was going to be a little rusty offensively," Davis said. "I felt good. Missed a couple of layups, short on a couple of jumpers. That's just all getting back into the feel and the flow of the game and that'll turn around easily."
It was difficult to jump back into the fray this way.
"You're out there playing one-on-one and no matter how many shots you miss, it's just one-on-one," he said. "And two-on-two is still not the same. For me, this is more so an opportunity to get practicing and continue my rehab. I'm just happy to be back on the court even if it is for limited minutes."
Jones is relieved
Jones wasn't one of those nervous guys who feels afraid to answer the phone when bad news could be looming. If the Clippers weren't going to keep him, he had readied himself to face unemployment.
"I want to know. I want to know what's going on." Jones said. "Today, at the hotel, I packed up all my stuff either to go on the road trip or go home. My stuff was packed and ready to go either way."
The news, luckily for Jones and his pregnant wife, was good.
He was pleased to finally be able to get the green light to look for more permanent accommodations. But Jones joked that he "made sure" he got all of his Westin points.
"With me being paranoid and a pregnant woman in a hotel room, it doesn't work too well," he said. "We'll work it out."
The expecting father joked that he is "overprotective." His son is due in June. "I don't let nobody get close to that stomach," he said, smiling.