Well, as far as Bulls losses go this year, at least this one was predictable. Sans Jimmy G Butler and Dwyane Wade against the best team in the league at Oracle Arena, the Bulls (26-27) got taken to the woodshed on Wednesday night by the Warriors (44-8) by a score of 123-92. The Bulls got outscored in each quarter and failed to ever really threaten the Dubs in this one. Without Butler and Wade, the Bulls lacked any serious scoring threat and any semblance of depth that could have kept this a game past the second quarter. Let’s see if we can find some positives to take from this overall stinker.
- The Bulls actually started this one off competitive to the surprise of many. Halfway through the first, the Bulls found themselves knotted up at 11 apiece thanks to some quality defense and a generally high energy level. However, the Warriors promptly went on one of their patented runs, scoring 13 points in a row over the span of just a few minutes to create a gap that the Bulls would not be able to recover from.
- In the second, the Bulls starting small forward for the night (Paul Zipser) fell victim to an injured ankle and would not return, depleting the already feeble Bulls roster even further. The injury didn’t appear too serious, but any injury is a major one at this point in the up-and-down campaign here.
- The matchup between one of the best 3-point shooting teams in recent memory, and one of the worst, held true to form in this one. The Bulls shot a pedestrian 4/24 from deep on the night, a paltry 17%. Meanwhile, Klay and Draymond carried the load for the Warriors from outside combining for 11/15 shooting, 73%, in limited minutes. The duo were able to find open looks throughout the game as the Warriors as a whole finished 15/28 (54%) on the game. For those counting at home, that’s 33 more points Golden State scored from the beyond the arch than the Bulls, a devastating gap that few teams could overcome in today’s NBA.
- With Wade and Butler out, Hoiberg was hoping to get a spark out of little used Denzel Valentine on the night. The rookie out of Michigan State failed to deliver after finally getting significant minutes. Valentine finished with a line of five points, three assists, and two turnovers while shooting just 2/11 in 21 minutes of game time. The rookie also finished with a +/- rating of -24 on the game. He was just not playing at the same speed as some of his counterparts and often found himself out of place on defense. The shooting was the least of Valentine’s issues in this one, as it was disappointing to see this effort after such a promising few games for the D-League Windy City Bulls.
- On a night like Wednesday, you have to take some small victories from the game. In this case, the Bulls got some quality minutes out of their frontcourt starters Taj Gibson and Robin Lopez. The duo were the two highest scoring Bulls on the night and combined for a stat line of 32 points and 19 rebounds on 14/28 shooting (50%). With the two premier scoring options out in the backcourt, Gibson and Lopez stepped up and were visibly more aggressive in finding their shot when the opportunity arose. If these two can bring the same effort when Butler and Wade are back, it would go a long way in solving the Bulls scoring issues going forward.
- For the Warriors, it was business as usual. The team’s ball movement was pristine, and their shooting was on the mark to fully take advantage of the fruits of their labor from all the quick passes this team executes. Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Kevin Durant had stellar games to make up for a relatively off night from former MVP Stephen Curry.
- I would give my MVP on the night to Green, as the more successful Michigan State product finished the night with 19 points on an efficient eight shots thanks to his previously mentioned three point stroke. Green also added eight boards and six dimes as the stat stuffer was doing it all for the Warriors on the offensive ends of things. Not many teams can win by 30 when their MVP scores only 13, but the Warriors aren’t most teams. Their scoring depth and general team-first ethic mean they can bully most teams without having to sweat out a competitive affair, as was the case last night.
- Up Next: The Bulls continue this six-game road trip in Phoenix on Friday night as they take on the Suns.