Keys to the Game: Bulls vs Warriors (11.24.17)
Tonight the Bulls close out a four-game West Coast swing in Oakland, California against the defending NBA Champion Golden State Warriors. Once again the ‘Dubs are running wild over the league. As of this writing they lead the NBA in scoring (117.9), shooting (51.4%), assists (30.2) and point differential (+10.4), and are a close 2nd from behind the 3-point arc (40.2%).
Defensively, the Bulls are clearly going to need to keep their head up and eyeball the 3-point arc as just about everyone on the Warriors, including its head coach, former Bull Steve Kerr, can knock-down shots from downtown. Two-time NBA MVP Steph Curry leads the way, averaging 9.3 long distance attempts a game, hitting 38.3%. Fellow "Splash Brother" Klay Thompson puts up 7.1 long-tosses and connects on a ridiculous 46.3%, while Kevin Durant is close behind with 6.0 liftoffs and a 42.2% success rate.
Offensively, Chicago’s plan each night is to put up between 85-to-90 shots overall, with at least 30 from beyond the 3-point arc. In order to achieve this objective it is vital they do a great job of sharing the ball, keeping it moving from player-to-player and from side-to-side. In order for the Bulls to get open looks they need to force opponents to scramble defensively. Generously sharing the ball also keeps everyone involved. The Bulls are at their best when the ball finds its way into everyone’s hands while the others continuously sprint in-and-out of the paint and around the arc. To that end Chicago’s primary ballhandlers also need to show up with an aggressive mindset and be willing to drive the ball deep into the paint and take the action directly to the rim if an opportunity presents itself.
As a team, the Bulls must also crash the boards, and if they fail to grab a missed shot or collect a loose ball, hustle back defensively in order to deny Golden State the ability to ramp up its attack.
In order to come out on top, the Bulls have to hit the floor fast and strong and never hang their head. From the opening tip to the final buzzer they must commit to one another to outwork and outhustle Golden State in every imaginable way.