Bulls-Warriors Film Room: Great Effort, But Not Enough for the Bulls


Here’s a look at some of the good and bad on film from the Chicago Bulls on Friday night in their 104-96 loss to the now 14-0 Golden State Warriors.

Despite being shorthanded at the point guard position, the Chicago Bulls gave the undefeated Golden State Warriors all they could handle on Friday night in Oakland.

Reigning NBA MVP Stephen Curry and the Warriors were just too much for the Bulls down the stretch and the defending champs improved to 14-0 on the season; one win away from tying the best start to a season in NBA history.

ALSO AT PIPPEN AIN’T EASY: After Attacks on Paris, Joakim Noah Has Huge Game

Jimmy Butler did all he could to keep the Bulls in it, but his stellar 28-point performance on 11-of-21 shooting would go to waste.

The Bulls were actually really good against the Warriors on Friday. The defensive gameplan was the part that stuck out the most. Butler not only provided the bulk of the offense, he guarded the most important player on the floor for Golden State: Draymond Green.

Green had nine rebounds and five assists, but only scored nine points on 3-of-8 shooting during Friday night’s game.

Another factor that played into the Bulls’ hands: former Warriors assistant Pete Myers knowing the Golden State personnel from his days as one of Mark Jackson‘s right-hand men.

But in the end, the Warriors’ superb defense and late-game execution with their “Lineup of Death” was just too much to overcome. Stephen Curry had a rough night against Kirk Hinrich and still scored 27 points with four steals.

Where did things go right and wrong for the Bulls on Friday? Let’s take a look at the film.

#RightBaselineJimmy has to become a part of the offense again

Look at how efficient Jimmy Butler was inside of the arc on the right side of the floor last season.

Last month, SB Nation’s Blog a Bull wrote on how the right baseline is a key component of Jimmy Butler’s game. One of the reasons that Butler’s game took off last season was because he got to spots on the floor where he’s comfortable.

This was on the first possession of the game for the Bulls offensively on Friday.

Butler’s only 8-of-25 shooting from those two baseline spots on the floor so far this season, but it’s November. This offense flows a little different than last season. Butler is going to get the ball in different spots. But, he can’t neglect getting to this side of the floor on offense.

This wasn’t ideal, Bulls

If he’s not going to score, Joakim Noah needs to do this more

It’s no secret that Joakim Noah’s offensive game has become a ghost. Ever since the knee surgery before last season began, Noah has been nothing more than a shell of himself. The start to this season hasn’t been anything different.

Noah missed all three shot attempts against Golden State, but this was a positive on offense for him. Jimmy Butler will get the headline for the huge alley-oop slam, but watch Noah up top on this particular set and the screen he sets on Draymond Green to spring Butler open.

If he’s not going to provide point production on offense, springing guys open for better looks (and dunks) could be an adjustment to his game. Taj Gibson is the best screener on this roster, and if Noah and Gibson continue to play together, having two bigs that can set solid screens (along with Noah’s passing ability) could become a nice asset.

The caption says it all

Nikola Mirotic shot 0-of-6 from long range on Friday night. Since the first three games of the season where Mirotic scored 18+ points in three straight games, Mirotic is shooting 22.7 percent from deep. That’s not going to get it done. He finished 6-of-17 on the night for 18 points and 10 rebounds (which was a little positive from his night).

Next time, don’t ask to guard the MVP, Jimmy Butler

Butler had a great game and was the main reason the Bulls even kept this game close, but asking to guard the best player on the planet before the game isn’t usually a recipe for success.

Don’t worry. Curry does this to everyone, so it’s OK.

Pau Gasol doesn’t like his touch count right now, but his passing’s been good

Example No. 1:

Example No. 2:

Gasol is frustrating for the Bulls because of his lack of a defensive presence and effort on the glass sometimes, but his passing is still in the top tier as a big man. He may not be getting the ball on the blocks as much as he wants, but his ability to find the open man is a good piece to the Bulls offense.

It’s not a good thing when the first bench points of the game come in the third quarter

The Bulls bench point total before there was 5:40 left in the third quarter of Friday’s game: 0.

Until this play by Jimmy Butler.

Even without the bench production, the Bulls still kept this game close for most of the night. It was encouraging to see the Bulls play well with the champs (even in the SEGABABA for Golden State), but it does make you wonder if the bench could gotten some more shots to drop.

#PauFaces are the best

After Gasol was called for goaltending in the fourth quarter, this happened:

Harrison Barnes buries the Bulls

In back-to-back possessions, Harrison Barnes finished off the Bulls as a member of the “Lineup of Death” with two threes. Simply put, the “Lineup of Death” is when the Warriors put Draymond Green at center and go small.

(Also, what was Nikola Mirotic doing on the second one? Overhelping again? Yes. Yes he was.)

Final thoughts:

Friday night could have been much uglier for the Bulls. Not only did Derrick Rose miss another game with a sore left ankle, Aaron Brooks sat out with a hamstring strain.

Believe it or not, Kirk Hinrich has been a blessing on the current road trip for the Bulls. In the four games since his return to action off a toe issue, Hinrich has averaged 11.3 points per contest on 59.3 percent shooting. His defense frustrated Stephen Curry to some degree on Friday (Curry had six turnovers), but Hinrich’s defense could only do so much.

Next: How Derrick Rose Can Improve His Shooting

It’s not the end of the world for the Bulls. They’re still 8-4 with a little mini-break in between games with Portland next Tuesday. The Bulls were good on Friday, but not good enough against the league’s best team.