Bulls fall to Warriors, 119-112

The Bulls Wednesday thrilled, willed themselves back into the game and showed skill, though just not quite enough as the Warriors defeated the Bulls 119-112.

The Bulls after a striking first half and 66-63 lead fell apart in the third quarter, falling behind by 19. But the Bulls rallied with determination throughout the fourth quarter, getting within five points before the Warriors made just enough late scores.

The Bulls were led by Nikola Mirortic off the bench with 24 points. Kris Dunn and Robin Lopez had 16 each. Bobby Portis had 12 points, Lauri Markkanen had 11 points and eight rebounds and Denzel Valentine 10 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. David Nwaba had eight points and six rebounds with numerous crucial defensive plays to lead Bulls’ comebacks. The Bulls had a massive 56-26 advantage off the bench and a 56-28 lead in the paint. The Warriors were 13 of 33 on threes and shot 50 percent overall.

The Bulls fell to 17-28; the Warriors are 37-9.

The Warriors were resting Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala, though Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson were present. And having an immediate effect after Lopez opened the game with a  pair of dunks. The first cost the Warriors rookie Jordan Bell, who had to leave in a wheelchair with a sprained ankle after contesting Lopez’ first driving dunk and a 4-3 Bulls lead. The Warriors then went into their shooting game, especially Curry with 14 first quarter points with Golden State chasing out to a 27-17 lead. But the Bulls drove right back with some clever playmaking from Valentine and the inside play of Lopez. The Bulls then pressured the Warriors late in the quarter, forcing Curry into a last second turnover that resulted in a David Nwaba dunk after a fierce scramble. The Bulls thus led 40-38 after one quarter with 10 straight points to close the quarter. They would add seven more to start the second quarter for a 45-38 lead. The Bulls shot 56.5 percent and made nine of 10 free throws in the quarter. The Warriors came back with eight straight points into a timeout. But the Bulls then got a Mirotic run with a strong defensive play to stop Durant and with Durant complaining and not running back, Mirotic ran down for a three and 57-46 Bulls lead. Dunn’s reverse gave the Bulls  a 61-51 lead. The Bulls then missed five straight shots before another rolling dunk from Lopez on a Valentine pass and Valentine three enabled the Bulls to lead 66-63 in a frenzied first half with 16 fast break points for the Bulls. Lopez and Mirotic each had 12.

The Bulls opened the second half going ahead 70-66 before settling more for jump shots that were mostly going awry, 10 straight misses with a turnover as the Warriors shot out to an 85-72 lead with 5:15 left in the third quarter and the Bulls second attempt of the quarter at stopping the Warriors’ run. Golden State opened the quarter making six of nine threes. The misses and mistakes continued in the rueful third quarter in which the Bulls went almost seven minutes without scoring. The Warriors scored 19 points in that stretch for a 91-72 lead. The Warriors then went into the fourth quarter leading 95-78. Curry has 30 through three and Thompson 27. The Bulls shot six for 24 in the third quarter, zero for seven on threes and were outscored 32-12. The Bulls got it going again to open the fourth behind Mirotic with a pair of three s and a 10-2 opening run to get their deficit to 97-88. Thompson continued to befuddle the Bulls with his shooting. Dunn then had a sequence of seven points around a Portis score. Nwaba then deflected a Curry pass for a Bulls fast break score to get the Bulls within 112-103 with 3:59 left in the game. Dunn soon stripped Thompson for a fast break dunk to get the Bulls within 112-107 with 2:52 left. But Dunn fell after the dunk, cutting his lip and forced out of the game. Thompson then scored on a driving layup and Durant inside to give them just enough to absorb yet another Bulls run to the close.