The Golden State Warriors tour of destruction continues as they storm through the United Center, leaving a bruised and beaten Chicago Bulls team following the 125-94 demolition.
It’s two wins by a combined 65 points against the two teams most pick as favorites to play for the Eastern conference title, although the Bulls have been slipping of late. Both wins for the Warriors have come on the road, showing what they think of the criticism after losing two games out of three, falling to four losses this season. Maybe playing the Bulls, the franchise holding the record for the best regular season in NBA history (72-10 from 1995-1996) gave them some extra motivation.
It was the first time this season the Warriors backcourt was outscored by their rival backcourt, as Derrick Rose (29 points) and Jimmy Butler (23 points) did a little bit better than Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, combining to score 45 points. But the rest? The opening frontcourt for the Bulls finished with 7 points, shooting 3-of-22 from the field, including Gasol not making a single field goal. Bobby Portis with 16 points and E’Twaun Moore scoring 13 didn’t do too poorly off the bench, but it did feel that for most of the time, it was simply the Warriors letting the Bulls score because it didn’t matter anymore. Nikola Mirotic finished with 0 points, and whenever the Warriors were playing seriously, this wasn’t remotely close to being a fair contest.
But that’s just what the Cavaliers felt two days earlier. The Warriors can play a certain type of basketball that’s at a pace and level that no team so far this season has been able to match. It begins with defense and carries on to their quick ball movement and execution offensively. Sometimes, they aren’t playing at full throttle right from the start which could lead to complications, but they’ve proven a number of times this season that when they’re serious, they’re focused, and when that happens they’re pretty much a step above everyone else.
The Bulls will look to win other battles, but this team remains in some sort of flux, especially now that Joakim Noah is injured. It means the defense needs to learn a few new tricks and things without him, although it probably helps them offensively. Whether or not this loss will give them the right kind of shake up they need remains to be seen. Unlike the Cavaliers, the Bulls are far less completely and confident of a team, which means there’s still some sorting out to do in order to make a nice run for second place in the East. The Warriors? After going 2-1 on their Midwest tour, it’s back home to play the Indiana Pacers before their first clash with the San Antonio Spurs, which will gives us an answer, for now, about who the best team in the NBA really is.