Silly turnovers, inability to convert on seemingly easy shots and the overall demise of anything that resembles an offense was the conventional theme of the game for the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday. Coming off the embarrassing loss against the Charlotte Bobcats, the Dubs will take on the Chicago Bulls, who bounced back from two awkward losses with an impressive win against the Phoenix Suns.
With Derrick Rose sidelined with another knee injury, and Luol Deng shipped out of town, many thought the Bulls would embrace the notion of tanking the season. Instead, Chicago has put together a 10-6 record since moving their starting small forward and are still a very feisty team.
Frontcourt: With or without Rose, Noah is the heart and soul for this Bulls team. His hustle on both ends of the floor has always been commendable and he can often change the course of a game through sheer energy. Offensively, Noah is a very similar player to his matchup in Andrew Bogut, in that both players generally are restricted to a limited amount of looks in the pick-and-roll and have to get a lot of their points by hustling on the offensive glass.
Carlos Boozer’s numbers have steadily declined, and you can’t pencil him in for a 20-10 game on any given night anymore. His offense has been very hit-and-miss this season, but if he starts feeling it, he can find multiple ways to score. Mike Dunleavy has taken Deng’s place in the starting lineup, and he is capable of burning teams by playing off the ball and launching spot-up threes.
Backcourt: Kirk Hinrich has reclaimed his spot in the starting lineup after missing a couple of games due to injury, but he has steadily been losing minutes to DJ Augustin of all people. With Deng out, Jimmy Butler continues to be the work horse for the Bulls, and the guy who Tom Thibodeau throws at elite perimeter scorers for an extended amount of minutes. However, with an increased workload, Butler’s efficiency has plummetted.
Keys to Warriors Victory:
As mentioned, everyone feeds of Noah’s energy. He is capable of heating up offensively every once in a while, but more than anything he is a raging bull who needs to be taken by the horns and tamed. If you let him make a huge momentum play, he tends to scream in your face and proceeds to outhustle every player and wreak havoc on the court.
Butler’s 3-point shooting efficiency might have decreased a lot this year, but the likes of Augustin and Dunleavy have been lethal from beyond the arc for the Bulls this season. Chasing those guys off the 3-point line and limiting their looks will be important, as Chicago’s offense can often become stagnant if the shooters are not connecting. Games in which the Bulls shoot at a better percentage from behind the 3-point line than their opponents, they are 18-5.
Chicago Bulls (24-24) vs. Golden State Warriors (29-20)
7:30 PM PST, February 6, 2014
ORACLE Arena, Oakland, CA
Radio: KNBR 680 AM
Bulls Projected Starting Line-up
PG: Kirk Hinrich
SG: Jimmy Butler
SF: Mike Dunleavy
PF: Carlos Boozer
C: Joakim Noah
Key Reserves: G DJ Augustin, F Taj Gibson