If the Bulls are "back", what are the Warriors?
The Warriors get their 11th win in 12 games without #11.
Yes, the Golden State Warriors completely destroyed the Chicago Bulls 119-93 last night in Chase Center to obtain a sterling 11-1 record.
But going into last night’s game between the two teams with the top records in their respective conferences, let’s not forget there was a palpable sense that the Dubs were “finally gonna get challenged”.
Before the contest, ESPN ran an article glowing about the Bulls’ strides to start the season:
The Bulls are off to an 8-3 start, their best since 2012. They are one of four teams (Golden State Warriors, Utah Jazz, Miami Heat) that rank in the top 10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency during this young season, a surprise for even their most optimistic projections.
Whether Chicago can sustain its early-season success is being tested in mid-November, and so far it is thriving. Even opposing players are noting how the "Bulls are back."
Bulls are back? Wellp last night they looked like they were backed into a corner absorbing haymaker after haymaker in front of a giddy Dub Nation.
CARRY ON? Oh we’ll carry on. We’ll keep on carrying teams in Hefty bags out of Chase Center and dumping their title hopes in the Bay.
“The Bulls are back” smh. The funny thing is the Warriors may be the hottest team in basketball but they ain’t back, Jack. Being “back” would require the return of the younger Splash Bro, the guy who broke the NBA record for most three-pointers in a game one night against the Bulls.
Oh yeah, and if we want to be BACK back, we can throw in 2020’s #2 lottery pick as the 7-foot cherry on top to give this team a scary final dimension: SIZE. Will we lead the league in dunks AND three-pointers?
Curry > Bulls Big 3
Andrew Wiggins has to be grateful. He’s seen former teammates Karl-Anthony Towns and Zach Lavine in consecutive games, and watch them get devoured by the magical perpetual motion machine that is the Stephen Curry + Draymond Green Warriors. LaVine showed off some nifty moves and scored 23 points on 10-of-17 shooting, but was forced into 7 turnovers and a team worst -19 plus/minus.
I had heard plenty about Chicago’s three-headed Cerberus of LaVine, DeMar Derozan, and the elder Ball son Lonzo. Derozan scuffled to 18 points on 4-of-13 shooting from the field (his 9-of-10 shooting on free throws helped his final line). Ball had a quality night on defense (4 steals) but his shot was dead in the water (5 points on 2-of-11 shooting).
Wait let me add that up: 23 + 18 = 41…add Lonzo’s five and that’s 46 combined points…meanwhile Stephen Curry had 40 points by his damn self.
I wouldn’t trade Curry for those three dudes combined. The Dubs held the Bulls to 93 points and 43% shooting from the field on one end, and terrorized them on the other end with smooth offensive principles fueled by Curry’s unique skillset.
THE BEAUTIFUL GAME
There are some Warriors’ offensive possessions that I’ll watch and just KNOW it’s gonna end up in the next Explain One Play from Eric Apricot or a Joe Viray video breakdown. This inbounding play felt like one of them.
Gary Payton II inbounds to Andre Iguodala during a massive Warriors chant.
Curry is eruditely positioned under the basket to cause havoc with a screen that takes out both Lavine (GPII’s defender) and Lonzo Ball (Curry’s defender).
Iguodala, a basketball genius of the highest order, anticipates all this and fires a pass to GPII.
GPII easily finishes a layup as Alex Caruso flails around him. IT’S CHESS, NOT CHECKERS.
Curry does a double spin in celebration, mimicking Lavine’s attempt to recover and get around his screen. I think I’m starting to remember why everyone despises losing to the Dubs: the constant humiliation.
There was another slick GSW play where a screening Otto Porter Jr. got Curry wiiide open on the wing while the rookie Jonathan Kuminga dribbled at the top of the key. But the rookie hesitated, perhaps a designed ploy to sink the defense into a deeper demise? Or was he shocked that Curry (the scariest scorer in the history of basketball) was THAT alone on the court?
Eventually Kuminga tossed the ball to the corner, but two Bulls quarantined Curry. It seemed like Chicago was going to escape that possession unscathed due to Kuminga’s hesitance.
Side note: I was a bit traumatized seeing possessions like this last year, when Curry’s new teammates weren’t accustomed to the Warriors’ motion offense and how it’s all designed to leverage Curry’s gravity. Apparently playing with a player as unique as Curry in the read-and-react offense can take some getting used to for some folks.
Currently, we can all be thankful that the team is wriggling through these learning opportunities without squandering Curry’s gravity.
In last night’s aforementioned scenario, the Unanimous One astutely swung the pass back to the top of the key where former Bull Otto Porter Jr. was waiting. Did you know OPJ is shooting damn near 46% from beyond the arc this season? As soon as the pass hit his hands, he casually launched a bomb over his defender like he casting a fishing line on a lazy Sunday morning.
The Warriors built a dynasty with these pick-your-poison scenarios. Curry causes so much reason for alarm that his teammates can have the game become sooo easy for them in the flow around the two-time MVP.
More movement, more passes, more trickery, more chaos, more defender fatigue, more open shots, more W’s. I believe one of the reason’s the Warriors are so tough to stop in the third quarter is because most NBA teams don’t have defenses that are tethered to each other and conditioned enough to continue with the third 12-minute stanza of Kerr’s diabolical offense.
For defenders I’d bet it’s something like playing Squid Games, except instead of red-light green-light or tug-of-war to the death, it’s run at 100 MPH while the most dangerous shooter in the history of basketball lures you into mind-body puzzles as you navigate hella screens...and any mistake allows either he or his talented teammates to punish you with righteous indignation.
Shout out to everybody who demanded the Warriors trade the draft picks because they would only “waste Steph’s prime!!!”. I know I targeted a brief moment of hesitation from the rook Kuminga earlier, now let’s talk about him being an unstoppable freight train of pain.
Hornets: Time to punish LaMelo Ball again for poisoning the minds of our fanbase who pine for him over James Wiseman. Kelly Oubre Jr. also needs a reminder of the basketball related consequences of his choice to leave the Dubs for Charlotte.
Nets: Hey, Kevin Durant’s looking great in Brooklyn! And James Harden is rounding into form! IS THIS A FINALS PREVIEW?!
Cavaliers: Time to stop by Cleveland on our annual inspection to make sure there’s no life left to extinguish after those four straight Finals battles.
Detroit: Trap game on the second night of a back-to-back?!