Chicago Bulls – Hurt Pride Brings Defense Back on Track

After losing by 42 points in their previous game, the Chicago Bulls had to respond with some sort of impressive display, and it came on both ends of the floor, which is quite surprising for the Bulls these days, as Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng and even Nate Robinson each scored more than 20 points in a huge road win over the Golden State Warriors.

We’ve taken a hit. We’ve lost some guys along the way. Our guys will battle. We know that we’re short-handed. But if we have the right intensity and we do it collectively, we have a chance. And we’ve shown it throughout the year.

After the 121-79 defeat against the Kings, the Golden State Warriors was going to be a tougher assignment. So the Bulls played tougher, limiting the Warriors to only three field goals from beyond the arc, keeping Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson at only 15 points and 5-22 from the field, as the Warriors got beaten at home 95-113.

It was rough for Warriors fans, who see their team as a much tougher version than in previous seasons, get manhandled like that, as Andrew Bogut spent only 17 minutes on the floor, feeling quite outmatched, not getting too much defensive help from David Lee, as Joakim Noah (16 points, 13 rebounds) and Carlos Boozer (21 points, 9 rebounds) dominated the boards and the paint, with the Bulls scoring 51.8% of their shots after barely scraping the 40% mark in the last few games.

The great thing about it is we kept it up for virtually the whole game. It was fun to watch us play like that. One of the best hustle plays all season.

The Bulls turned the game into their kind of fight – scrappy, without a lot of half court offense and organized sets. Just effort and hustle, with the team defending as a unit, like they do at their best, which forces teams to drop the pick n’ roll and try to find some other way in. Stephen Curry tried his individual ways of making three pointers, but it simply wasn’t it for him on a terrible night.

The big surprise for the Bulls was the usual X-Factor, Nate Robinson, who can do a lot as long as you don’t ask him to play organized, planned team basketball. When it’s all about high octane offense and simply zipping his way to both ends, crashing boards and giving it all on defense, suddenly he’s not such a bad option on offense. It’s all about making it an energy game instead of a more, classic kind of basketball.

Loose balls, rebounds, screens, moving without the basketball — any way you want to measure playing with force, we failed. This was an embarrassing performance by us, point blank. It’s embarrassing to us, to the organization, to the coaching staff, to the fans.

Derrick Rose didn’t make any announcement, and the Bulls still prevailed. He keeps showing up for the pre-game warm-up  but there’s no one to say if he’ll be back next week or maybe not at all. Physically, he’s at 100%. Maybe he needs to know there’s not too much pressure on him to return, and seeing the Bulls dominate this way possibly helps him make up his mind.

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