To say this was a rough game for the Chicago Bulls is putting it very lightly. The Bulls gave up 92 points in a half, were down big for the entire game, and if not for garbage time minutes (aka the entire 4th quarter), the 149-124 final score could have been much worse.
On a night where Steph Curry and Kevin Durant only scored 23 and 14 points respectively. It was Klay Thompson’s night to go off. He hit an NBA record 14 three-pointers in the game, going for 52 points in only 27 minutes.
Heading into this matchup, the Bulls were second in the NBA in opponent three-point attempts allowed at 38.3 per game. While they are only 14th in opponent’s three-point percentage (34.5%), it’s still troubling that the defense is giving up so many chances from three. This spells disaster any time you face a team with elite shooters because they aren’t going to miss many of the open looks the Bulls give up.
This is exactly what happened against Thompson.
(1:10 - 1:19) This is one of many examples of the Bulls defense completely switching off. Again a team like Golden State, who can pass and move off the ball like no other, it’s basically giving up a free bucket if you aren’t on your A game to begin the possession. As soon as Steph Curry passes the half court line, he spots a mismatch in Draymond Green being guarded by Cameron Payne. Curry lobs it into the post to Green, who is posting up Payne. Due to this, the right idea would be to help out Payne who is clearly much smaller than Green. Luckily Wendell Carter Jr. is there in the paint to help out if need be but there’s also another problem: Jabari Parker is standing in the paint. So with one Warrior and three Bulls near the basket this means someone is open and it’s Thompson. The Bulls completely forgot about him, despite him being on fire to start the game, and he freely walked into the opposite corner. As soon as Green saw a wide open Thompson he flashed a pass towards him. Parker tried to react but was really late and fell for the Thompson pump fake, which took him out of the play. With nobody in sight to contest the shot, it was a routine corner three.
(1:43 - 1:49) Transition wasn’t the only place where the Warriors were finding easy shots. It was in their half court sets too. Thompson begins the possession on the corner near the Warriors bench as Curry has a low dribble near the same area. But as Curry moves toward the center of the court, Thompson is on the move as well. This time he has the help of a double screen from the left side. Both Kevon Looney and Alfonzo McKinnie set screens on Zach LaVine and Chandler Hutchison. Sensing the screen, LaVine overplayed it and went under it to near the top of the three-point line. Thompson curled around and stopped way quicker than LaVine anticipated. The result was an easy catch and shoot make for Thompson.
The Bulls defense did themselves no favors last night against the best team in the NBA. Anytime you give up 45 three-point attempts to the Warriors, it’s a recipe for disaster.
Wendell Carter Jr. got a poster
If there was one positive from the game, it was when we saw WCJ dunk all over Jordan ‘Cash Considerations’ Bell.