Warriors outclass Bulls, 143-94
The game went downhill after a credible first quarter.
This one Friday probably wasn't difficult to predict. Team with the league's poorest record finishing a week long Western Conference trip against the defending champion coming off a disappointing loss back home before probably the most raucous fan base in the NBA.
Golden State Warriors over the Bulls 143-94.
OK, maybe the margin of defeat, the third worst in Bulls franchise history, was a bit unexpected. Especially with the Warriors not playing Kevin Durant and Draymond Green. And starting JaVale McGee, Zaza Pachulia and rookie season round pick Jordan Bell.
They go on a run and we've seen this before where we put our heads down, we don't fight through it, we start separating and we lose trust in each other. We have to find a way to battle through the tough times and find a way to toughen up and stay in the game
The latter was apparently a Steve Kerr tweak of the Bulls, who sold to Golden State the draft pick the Warriors used to select Bell. Bell in introductions mocked the Bulls about the transaction, though he had comparatively limited impact with seven points, six rebounds and six blocks. Bell was inactive four of the last five games.
Stephen Curry had 33 points, 26 in the second quarter when the Warriors went from leading by one point with eight minutes left in the half to the game, effectively, being over with a 74-53 Warriors halftime lead.
Klay Thompson then took the scoring baton from Curry in the third quarter for 15 of his 29 points as both Curry and Thompson played fewer than 27 minutes. The Warriors took a 110-66 lead after three quarters and played a version of various shooting games in the fourth quarter.
Jerian Grant had 13 points in the playground exhibition fourth quarter to lead the Bulls with 21 points. Lauri Markkanen had 14 points, but shot four of 16. Antonio Blakeney had 11 points and Denzel Valentine and Bobby Portis 10. Valentine probably was closest to effective for the Bulls as the only regular not to have at least a minus-20 on plus/minus. Valentine was minus-11 and had six rebounds and two of five threes in 20 minutes.
"From day one, even going back to September, the biggest thing we talked about as a team was fighting through the tough times and handling adversity," repeated Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg. "Went out and had a great start; actually had a lead (32-29) after the first quarter. They go on a run and we've seen this before where we put our heads down, we don't fight through it, we start separating and we lose trust in each other. We have to find a way to battle through the tough times and find a way to toughen up and stay in the game.
"You have to find a way to stick together as a team," said Hoiberg. "You can't try to go out and get it back all by yourself. You can't stop doing the things we were doing early in the game to keep us in it. We got back in transition pretty well early and then quit getting back on a team that is No. 1 in the league in fast break points. They scored 26 in transition (and 24 on turnovers), were getting whatever they wanted. You have to find a way to fight through it. If we don't learn that soon we are going to keep getting our (butts) kicked."
The Bulls fell to 3-14. Golden State is 14-5.
This was a tired Bulls team with limited talent playing poorly.
There's not much chance with that big three.
The Bulls did have that credible first quarter, getting 10 points from Valentine both shooting and passing well. He's been subtly effective moving in as a starter as Curry was quiet with two first quarter fouls and rookie Bell had three fouls despite his later histrionics. The Bulls clearly made an effort to get Markkanen more shots. But the rookie again seemed to be forcing shots recognizing the way the team needed his scoring. He is nine of 42 shooting the last three games.
"They didn't fall in the second half, actually in the first half, either," Markkanen observed. "I've just got to work more. I've had a couple nights now where I don't make shots, but I did have good looks. People do scouting reports like we do on our opponents. It's one thing you've got to adjust when the other team is playing a different kind of way. I've got to work on my game more."
But when Curry began to convert in a fabulous run that has become almost unique to him, the Bulls were witnesses like the rest of us.
Curry outscored the Bulls in the second quarter on his own with an array of quick release threes, back door cuts, mid range jumpers and drives. What's lost with most about the Warriors is they seek out good shots; not just three-point shots. They made 16 of 36 threes in the game, just three more than the Bulls.
So how did they score 49 more points?
It's movement, trust as Holberg alluded to with the Bulls players firing up isolation jump shots. It's cutting as soon as you give up the ball, screening and rolling, a merry go ‘round of activity that constantly produces good shots. And not only long ones. They seek out plenty of mid range jumpers; they just make a lot. That's in comparison to the Bulls on several occasions throwing four or five passes on one possession without getting inside the three-point line and then someone hoisting up a well defended three.
"We've just got to stick together," said Markkanen. "Bad nights happen, but we've shown that we can play with anyone when we play our good basketball and we trust each other. Tonight, we weren't able to do that. You can see it on the court when bad times come and the other team goes on a run, we stop trusting each other."
The Bulls opened the second half failing to score in nine of their first 10 possessions as they went down 30 four minutes into the quarter and were working on not being beaten by 50 much of the rest of the game.
Kris Dunn had a troublesome time shooting two of 11 and often caught in the air making poor passes for turnovers. But it was epidemic with lazy passes you'd make expecting the other team wasn't going to try to intercept. The Warriors decided not to play by those guidelines.
"As you can see, when we try to do our own work, it's not working," said Dunn. "We've got to try to collectively as a group come together and figure out a way to have more competitive games."
It was a tale of two cities' teams.
The Bulls elected to fly back to Chicago Saturday. So they will be facing a Sunday afternoon game, 2:30 p.m. against Miami. Who won in Minnesota Friday.
"We have to find a way to go out and give ourselves a chance (Sunday)," said Holberg. "It will be one of the tougher games we have to play this year. It will be a noon game with our body clocks the way they are. But you have to fight through the fatigue and, again, hopefully go out and play well. You learn from the good and bad, and there was plenty of bad to learn from tonight."
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