I’ll try to get you through this as quickly as I can. The Chicago Bulls journeyed to San Francisco for the fourth game of their road trip this evening and got beat pretty bad by our basketball overlords, the Golden State Warriors, 123-92. Jimmy Butler missed another game as he nursed a heal injury and Dwyane Wade was a late scratch with some sort of respiratory illness. A bit of good news was that Cristiano Felicio made a surprise comeback from his leg injury.
This one actually started out fairly competitive, with the Bulls doing a good job of switching and rotating on defense to counter the stellar ball movement of the Warriors. Accordingly, the Bulls managed to knot the score at 11-11 midway through the period. Then the Warriors, as they’re known to do, promptly went on a 13-0 run over the next three and a half minutes before a Rondo jumper stopped the bleeding. The run proved to be the difference after one as the first quarter ended with a score of 30-17 in the Warriors’ favor. The Bulls had seven field goals and six turnovers. Cristiano Felicio did this though:
chicagobulls: It's nice to have Mr. Felicio back: pic.twitter.com/kL35ywVuUq— Elijah (@AlwaysBulls) February 9, 2017
The second quarter opened with news that Paul Zipser suffered a left ankle injury and would not return to the game. Zipser started the game and Fred Hoiberg assigned him with defending Kevin Durant, so the injury made what was already an out-of-favor matchup even more lopsided. But the Bulls managed to keep the scoring pace even for the most part by funneling most of their offense through Taj Gibson and Rajon Rondo. Of course, it wasn’t like they had many other options, as the team shot a piss-poor 1-10 from distance in the first half (the Warriors shot 6-13 by comparison) and 39.5% from the field as a team. All of the Bulls players finished the first half with negative +/- ratings except for Doug McDermott, somehow posting a +3 despite missing both his shot attempts and failing to record any stats other than three fouls. The Bulls went into the locker room down 55-41.
The Bulls and the Warriors would play basketball for 24 more minutes. Not many interesting things happened. The Bulls continued to shoot poorly, the Warriors only got hotter as the game progressed, and Steve Kerr didn’t take mercy on his former team until he emptied the bench with a little under five minutes left in the game. To give you an idea of how flat-out uninteresting this game was, Mark Jackson opted to talk about his lackluster bench press when he was a player instead of sticking to his traditional color commentary duties. You might be interested in knowing that Jackson claims his max bench press as a player never exceeded 135 lbs. Does Mark Jackson even lift? What are we even talking about anymore?
Oh right, the second half of this Bulls game. It was bad. The Warriors had a double-digit lead for the entirety of the final two quarters and the game mercifully ended with a final score of 123-92. Rajon Rondo played well off the bench with a line of 12 points, 8 assists, and 6 rebounds on 6-11 shooting and Robin Lopez posted a 17/10 double-double. That’s about where the positives end for the Bulls in this one. Denzel Valentine had arguably his worst game of the season with 5 points on 2-11 shooting from the field and 1-7 shooting from beyond-the-arc. On a night where eight Bulls posted double-digit negative +/- ratings, Valentine was by far the worst with a -24 in 21 minutes. Just the latest disappointment in what has been a bad rookie year for the Bulls’ first round draft pick.
All five starters for the Warriors scored in double figures and every player on the Warriors finished with a positive +/- rating. Birthday boy Klay Thompson led the game in scoring with 28 points on 6-9 shooting from deep and Kevin Durant added 22 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals, and a block. The Warriors had the same number of assists (37) as the Bulls had made field goal in the game.
All in all, whatever. The Bulls were missing their two best players and lost one of their starters early on in the game. Hopefully, Jimmy Butler will be back for the next game and Dwyane Wade will have overcome whatever respiratory illness has stricken him. The Bulls will play again Friday against the Phoenix Suns before closing out their west coast road trip against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday.