The best teams in the West keep beating the best of the East, and this time it was the Golden State Warriors, backed by a rare shooting display by Draymond Green, running away from the Chicago Bulls on the road in a 112-102 victory.
Green scored 31 points on 7-of-13 from beyond the arc, adding 7 rebounds, 4 steals and 3 blocks in a season that places him not just as a useful role player but one of the best in the league at his position on most nights, doing it on both ends of the floor. The Bulls decided to pick their poison and allowed Green wide open shots time after time and were punished for it on almost every occasion.
The Warriors kept penetrating with Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry and Shaun Livingston into the paint before dishing the ball outside to Green. Instead of trying to beat the Bulls with pick & rolls, their specialty on defense, they decided to test the Bulls’ ability to help out on drives. Every time someone got sucked in and Green was the wide open again and again, while Chicago struggled with 22 turnovers that doomed them on the other end.
Klay Thompson scored 24 points followed by Stephen Curry with 19 points and 7 assists, as both of them didn’t shoot all that well from the field. It didn’t matter with the Bulls giving them so many opportunities for easy points, as the Warriors improved to 17-2 including 10-1 on the road, giving Steve Kerr another reason to feel like he’s being called the best thing that’s happened to the organization since drafting Stephen Curry for a good reason.
The Bulls had too many players misfiring. Derrick Rose scored just nine points on 2-of-11 from the field, Nikola Mirotic didn’t fit in once Taj Gibson returned and didn’t score a single point. Despite their 17 offensive rebounds and a big game for Pau Gasol with 22 points and 20 boards, too many of the things the Bulls are used to doing, like Butler having his way in the paint (only 7 free throw attempts) weren’t there for them. The Warriors, besides being incredibly fun to watch on offense, are excellent defensively as well.
The Warriors are the best team in the NBA right now, proving it on a nightly basis. More than just a passing trend, they’ve elevated their game from last year and upgraded it, be it by personnel adjustments (Barnes in the lineup for Iguodala) or by trying to play a more structured kind of offense. Chicago are far from perfect on their forte, their defense, which means it’s back to drawing board for Thibodeau, needing more from his team if their championship aspirations are to be fulfilled.