The Golden State Warriors shocked the Chicago Bulls last night with a 99-91 victory that saw the Dubs have numerous big leads throughout the game. At the half, Mark Jackson’s bunch held a 16-point lead and by the end of the third quarter they were up by 17 points.

The Warriors were able to get a win thanks in large part to their defense. Yes, defense.

During the summer, I made the bold proclamation that if the Dubs put in any semblance of effort and strategy in their defensive game plan that they could potentially look like a playoff team. And although there were mixed results on opening night against the Clippers, Golden State was just a little better against a Chicago team with less scoring options.

Save for the fourth quarter, the Dubs held the Bulls to 22 points or less in every quarter in last night’s game. The end result was a defensive efficiency of 95.8 (defensive efficiency projects how many points a team would score in a game with 100 possessions) for the game.

Granted, crediting Golden State’s defense would be shortchanging the team’s efforts on both sides of the ball last night. Indeed, the Dubs produced 57 points in the first half versus the Bulls’ 41 points, and in the second half they scored 42 points while the opposition put up an even 50.

The second half saw the Bulls flex their muscles a little and take advantage of the Warriors on the boards.

But a big part of why the Warriors were so successful on offense against a tough Bulls’ defense was that they shared the ball. The box score may read that Golden State only had 22 assists; but the flow and pace of the game favored the Dubs because they actually ran their offense.

Last season, we became accustomed to watching Monta Ellis pound the ball endlessly as he tried to set his man up for drives or contested shots.

Clearly we can tell that Mark Jackson wasn’t a fan of such a philosophy and thus preached better ball movement.

The end result is that the Warriors three best players (Curry, Ellis and Lee) are getting the majority of the touches, but they are also getting an opportunity to make plays. Have a look at their usage rate (percentage of possessions used) for the game against the Bulls:


Usage Rate

Monta Ellis


David Lee


Stephen Curry


The intended consequence of Jackson’s offense is the lack of isolation basketball. Instead, the Dubs rely more on creating shots off of movement via pick-and-rolls, post ups and cuts.

The Golden State Warriors converted 36-of-77 field goals last night (46.8 percent from the field) and according to Synergy Sports, they were three-for-10 from the field in isolation situations (30 percent conversion rate).

Low isolation figures means that more players get to touch the ball and consequently the Dubs offense is less predictable, especially against a Bulls team that does good job of bringing help from the weak side of the court.

Keep in mind though, the Warriors offense is largely tied to its defense. Indeed, when the Warriors got stops, it helped them unleash their most potent offensive weapon: their fast break.

Synergy Sports tells us that Golden State converted 64.3 percent of their field goals in transition against Chicago on Monday night. Thus every successful defensive possession for the Dubs has the potential to create high percentage shots going back the other way.

It’s important not to get too carried away after two games given that there are still 64 more to go, but let’s just say that Mark Jackson has been a success so far.

Now if he could only get Stephen Curry’s ankle to heal…

Questions or comments? Feel free to leave them in the comments section or you can contact me by email at

2 Responses

  1. Jay Q

    Just tell Ish Smith to share the ball a bit more. How come we didn’t have Jenkins play yesterday?

    • Joshua Mills

      I agree Jay Q
      Ive been wondering why Jenkins hasnt got playing time. I kind of wish we didnt pick up ish smith because I was afraid of this happening. Jenkins has shown great potential and seems to be a better shooter then Ish.