BULLet Points: Bulls no match for Curry and the Warriors

Losing a game by 30 points on your home floor is typically cause for hysteria. But with the Warriors in town Wednesday night, the default settings on the panic meter need to be adjusted.

  • It wasn’t all bad here in game 40. The starting back court combined to score 52 points on 50% shooting from the field. Rose was straight up cooking in the first half, scoring 21 points on 10/15 shooting.
  • Rose displayed great touch on his floaters and mid range jumpers. When Derrick hits his spots on the glass, he becomes very difficult to guard. Rose, who was 0/2 from beyond the arc, doesn’t necessarily need to become a three point marksman to open up driving lanes. If defenders have to honor jump shots of any distance, Rose will continue to fine clear paths to the basket.
  • My one complaint from this Rose performance, which ended with him scoring 29 points on 12/22 shooting, was his inability to spin his success off into success for his teammates. Rose tallied just two assists in his 30 minutes of action. While assist totals aren’t always the best indication of playmaking ability, Rose’s performance didn’t pass the eye test. Too often it seemed Rose decided he was taking the shot and didn’t look to set up his teammates for easy buckets. It’s hard to critique a player’s shot selection when he makes over 50% of his field goals, but it’s on night’s like this, when Rose has the defense’s full attention, that he should be looking for his teammates.
  • Jimmy Butler finished this game with 23 points, but almost all of his activity came in the 24 minutes of garbage time commonly referred to as the “second half of Warriors games.” Butler shot 1/7 from the field on mostly lazy contested jump shots in the first two quarters and drew just one shooting foul. He finished the game with an impressive 12 attempts from the line, but it would have been nice to see some more aggression before the game got out of hand.
  • It’s sort of discouraging that Rose and Butler’s strong individual stretches did not overlap at all.
  • The rest of the Bulls starting five combined to shoot 3/22 from the field for a combined seven points. Pau Gasol was completely erased by Draymond Green. Green is an expert defending screeners and did not let Pau get into any sort of rhythm in the pick and pop. Tony Snell was 0/4 from three and was unable to do anything positive even in an extended garbage time run. Taj at least had a cool dunk.
  • Snell has underwhelmed in his return to the starting lineup, but none of his competition for small forward minutes have done much to distinguish themselves. Mirotic was 0/5 from the field on mostly ugly clankers. McDermott was 1/6 and a team worst -28 in 32 minutes of play.
  • It was another classic low energy first quarter for the Bulls who gave up several easy buckets to the best transition offense in the NBA. The Warriors beat the Bulls down the court over and over again, including after a couple of made shots. The MO of the Bulls the last two years has been malaise against the league’s lower tiers and high intensity against the elite. The attention to detail on defense in this game put a big dent in that perception.
  • The Bulls entered the fourth quarter facing a 24 point deficit and Fred Hoiberg used the final 12 minutes to experiment. Before Cam Bairstow entered the game with three minutes left, the Bulls only big man on the court was Bobby Portis. The five out offense was fun to see, and Portis had himself a nice outing after struggling in his last few games. But the Bulls surrendered 38 points in the quarter to Golden State’s scrubs, many of which came on uncontested dunks and layups. Portis has a great motor and a pretty well rounded offensive skillset, but his ability to play NBA defense is a definite work in progress. Noah’s absence will create more learning opportunities for the rookie, but for now Portis is not capable of anchoring a defense.
  • Cristiano Felicio and Cameron Bairstow are not the frontcourt of the future.
  • Aaron Brooks was abused by Shaun Livingston. Brooks struggles to slow down most NBA point guards, but in a matchup where he was at a 10 inch disadvantage, AB never had a chance. I wish Hoiberg would have pulled the plug earlier on Brooks and given E’Twaun Moore more minutes. Moore finished with 13 points and did his best to slow down the world’s most terrifying offensive force.
  • The Warriors are amazing. They’re a machine running at full capacity from tip to final buzzer. They overwhelm teams with their passing, patience and shooting. Several times the Bulls played 20 seconds of good defense on a possession, but Golden State will make you pay for any slippage in the final four seconds.
  • The Steph Curry-Derrick Rose matchup was apparently the first between point guards who have won NBA MVP.
  • Coming up: the Bulls head to Boston for a Friday night matchup.
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