Following yet another close win over the Detroit Pistons this past Wednesday, the Chicago Bulls found themselves back in action against the Golden State Warriors in the first game of a back-to-back. Chicago found themselves achieving a blowout win led by the contribution of the backcourt.
Luol Deng sat out his fourth straight game allowing Jimmy Butler to get his fourth straight start. Even without the second-time All-Star, the Bulls seemed to have an easy time to start the game.
To begin the game, Chicago quickly got into a great rhythm. They were getting their job done well on both ends of the court. After winning the tip, Carlos Boozer scored the first points off a right-wing jumper. This would be the start of a fantastic quarter by Boozer. Following that, Boozer fed the ball to a cutting Joakim Noah for the layup attempt, but missed. Noah would miss both free throws, but Boozer was there to get a putback off the last miss.
Golden State failed to score until they were 2:37 into the game off a shot byStephen Curry. And even after Curry’s shot, there was not much offense around for the Warriors. Instead, the Bulls took it away from them with defensive presence. They also translated their tough defense into offense. Boozer got going and nearly achieved a double-double in the first quarter. Kirk Hinrich found his offense as well scoring 11 points in the quarter. The Bulls had great action going on at both ends of the court leading to their 31-13 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Warriors were held to 22.7% shooting, and they were also outrebounded 27-7.
This action continued on into the second quarter. Marco Belinelli made a free throw after an illegal defense call against the Warriors. Afterwards, Nate Robinson started his offensive run by banking in a ridiculous jump shot to give the Bulls a 34-17 lead. Coach Tom Thibodeau eventually went back to Boozer, Hinrich, and Noah in the second quarter, which help contribute to the continuation of the success. But they did come to a point where their play faced a slump. Chicago committed eight fouls in the quarter helping Golden State get back into the game a bit. Despite that, the Bulls held onto the lead at halftime, up 63-48.
The third quarter opened strangely with offensive fouls exchanged between the two teams. Another set of offensive fouls were exchanged after Noah finished with a tip dunk off of Boozer’s miss. Both teams were then called for travelling a few plays later. Basically, everyone was just trading turnovers.
Fortunately, that was just a phase of the quarter. Jimmy Butler got going in the third contributing with some buckets and rebounds to help the Bulls maintain their lead. They also had nice ball movement to help them get either good shots or good looks for free throws. To end the quarter, Chicago led Golden State 84-66.
In the final twelve minutes of the game, the Bulls got more of the same: backcourt production. Thibodeau had Hinrich and Robinson play together for most of the fourth quarter, and they worked well together. Robinson scored 9 points in the period while Hinrich hit a three to tie his career-high in threes at six. Thibodeau did reach the point where he finally took a seat on the bench, and emptied the bench allowing Daequan Cook, Nazr Mohammed, Vladimir Radmanovic, and Marquis Teague to play some garbage time.
The Bulls ended up defeating the Warriors 103-87 led by Hinrich’s 25 points (8-11 FG, 6-7 3PT, 3-4 FT), 4 assists, 2 rebounds, and 1 block. Robinson added 22 points, 4 assists, 4 rebounds, and 1 steal. The entire starting frontcourt did an impressive job as well. Boozer, Butler, and Noah each posted double-doubles of 15 points and 13 rebounds, 16 points and 12 rebounds, and 14 points and 16 rebounds, respectively. The frontcourt’s production also led to Chicago outscoring Golden State in the paint, 36-22, as well as outrebounding them 56-37.
The Bulls are now 26-16 with a three-game winning streak. They will look to extend that streak to four tomorrow night in Washington D.C. as they take on the Washington Wizards at 6 PM CT.