After the game against San Antonio, Billy Donovan decided to switch things up by starting Thaddeus Young instead of Lauri Markkanen at power forward. The decision seemed to pay off as the Chicago Bulls got off to a much better start than they did against the Spurs. However, the end result was the same as they allowed the Golden State Warriors to shoot 50 percent from the field and 42 percent from 3 en route to a 116-102 defeat.
Nikola Vucevic was the Bulls’ leading scorer for the second game in a row and nearly had a double-double with 21 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Stephen Curry — in his first game back since March 17 — led the Warriors with 32 points, while Andrew Wiggins had 21 points.
As mentioned, the change to the starting lineup seemed to spark Chicago initially. Vucevic had nine points in the first quarter, showing his effectiveness in the pick-and-pop by knocking down two mid-range jumpers. Yet the first quarter ended on a sour note as the Warriors scored eight straight points to lead 34-29 after one. The Bulls kept battling and made it a five-point game going into half. The teams continued to go back and forth until late in the third quarter when things took a turn for the worst. Curry went on one of his patent scoring runs, dropping 14 points in the span of about four minutes. This combined with a 3 from Draymond Green and four quick points from Kent Bazemore gave Golden State a double-digit lead, 96-85, after three.
The Bulls weren’t exactly out of the game at the start of the fourth quarter. One quick run would easily make things interesting again. But instead the opposite occurred with Curry off the floor, as the Warriors went on an 11-4 run of their own to quickly balloon the lead to 18 with seven and a half minutes remaining. The Bulls never got closer than 13 points the rest of the way.
Overall, there were clear positive and negatives when assessing the Bulls’ offense performance. They moved the ball extremely well by having 33 assists on 42 makes and shot 63.2 percent on 2-pointers. However, they were woeful from 3, shooting just 25 percent from deep. Markkanen was the only Bull to hit more than one shot from downtown. Chicago also still struggled to take care of the ball and turned it over 20 times, leading to 19 points for the Warriors.
This is the 10th time the Bulls have 30 or more assists this season and 7th time they have 20 or more turnovers.— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) March 30, 2021
LaVine struggled offensively in this game, going 4-of-16 from the field and 1-of-7 from 3 for 12 points and four assists. His ankle injury was clearly bothering him, and he was substituted out of the game with 6:49 left and didn’t return. The Bulls star admitted after the game he’s thinking about taking at least one game off to rest the ankle.
In other injury news, Garrett Temple only played two minutes before leaving the game with a hamstring injury.
Even without Coby White (neck injury) and then Temple, the Bulls’ bench still produced, scoring 31 points. In his new reserve role, Markkanen led the way with 13 points and six boards. Daniel Theis looked really solid in his Bulls debut, showing he can be a shot-blocking presence with two rejections and also a guy who can catch lobs near the rim as well.
WE ARE NOW A DANIEL THEIS FAN ACCOUNT pic.twitter.com/UvtBnwkhPY— Bulls Talk (@NBCSBulls) March 30, 2021
Patrick Williams had another good game as he scored 14 points while grabbing six boards along with four assists. He shot over 50 percent from the field and looked for his own shot on quite a number of possessions, which was fantastic to see and one of the few silver linings of this game. He has shown that he can be a solid player offensively when he is aggressive but has to continue to not pass up open looks. Tomas Satoransky scored 14 as well and added in eight assists. Thad Young pitched in with 10 points to make it that all five Bulls scored in double figures. However, this just adds more to the point of Chicago’s problems being more on the defensive end than on offense.
As for Golden State, Kelly Oubre Jr. had a double double with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Draymond Green scored 11, which included three shots from downtown and one true miracle prayer, and dished out nine assists.
Overall, the Bulls looked solid offensively and were moving the ball to get good shots. However, LaVine looked hampered and thus struggled. When your best player isn’t at 100 percent, it’s always going to be a tough game to win. Vucevic played brilliantly again as he showed offensively why Chicago gave up two picks and two players to trade for him.
The Bulls’ defense certainly left a lot to be desired as the Warriors got too many good looks. They had a true shooting percentage of 60.4 and Chicago couldn’t get stops when they needed to the most.
The Bulls are in a tough spot right now with LaVine hurt and Donovan trying to figure out new rotations, all while being on a lengthy road trip against some quality competition. Things won’t get any easier when Chicago faces the Suns on Wednesday, especially if LaVine is out.