Reactions: Warriors 102, Bulls 87
|Andre Iguodala, SF 41 MIN | 3-10 FG | 1-3 FT | 8 REB | 6 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 7 PTS | +18Andre contributed in numerous ways on Thursday night, and while his point total will rarely excite you, it’s the rebounds and assists that should. Since Andre couldn’t count on Klay Thompson (not interested), David Lee (left shoulder injury) and Andrew Bogut (left shoulder injury) to help on the glass, he took initiative and managed to grab eight on the night. The Warriors actually were out-rebounded 45-39, but that’s to be expected without the team’s two best rebounders and an aggressive, athletic Bulls front line. Andre continued to take contested jumpers and even throws in a trey or two in there, dismissing the idea of driving and getting the foul call most of the time. His movements looked sharper, both laterally and running up and down the floor. The upcoming break should help Andre put his hamstring problems behind him and be the aggressive playmaker we saw pre-injury. Defensively, the Bulls aren’t world beaters but Andre and Draymond Green both forced Mike Dunleavy and Taj Gibson into a combined 10/29 from the field.|
|Draymond Green, SF 27 MIN | 4-9 FG | 1-3 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | +4Many (including myself) have been clamoring for more minutes for Green all season as he’s proved to provide constant energy, emotion and toughness into whatever cruel and unusual lineups Mark Jacksons puts him in. You’re not leaning on Green to lead your team offensively, but hitting the occasional open three or drawing contact on drives into the lane have been what Green does best on that end of the floor (along with setting solid screens) for his early career. Green scored as a result of his aggressiveness inside: tip-in, running hook shot and an emphatic slam which drew loudest cheers from anyone not named Stephen Curry. While Green has played well this season, the obvious replacement for Lee was Harrison Barnes, who has replaced Lee in the past when he’s been injured. However, Jackson noted after the game that because the Bulls posed such a threat inside that Green was going to start regardless. Carlos Boozer was a late scratch, which might’ve helped Green on the offensive end, but he contributed in other ways. The question is whether Green stays in the starting lineup for their next game against the Phoenix Suns.|
|Jermaine O’Neal, C 26 MIN | 1-4 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 3 BLK | 2 TO | 4 PTS | -9O’Neal had the toughest task of the night: trying to make people forget Andrew Bogut wasn’t playing. Bogut has been so dominant defensively that any and all points the Bulls scored inside seemed just weird. Kirk Hinrich and DJ Augustin looked like All-Star’s at certain points during the game, and much of the blame falls on the injured shoulders of both David Lee and most importantly, Bogut. The first play for the Warriors was non other than a post-up for O’Neal, which ended as you would imagine. Lucky for the Warriors, Mark Jackson went with smaller lineups for most of the game due to his missing big men and O’Neal’s presence (or lack thereof). After seeing 6:49 of floor time in the 1Q, he wasn’t seen in the 2Q and saw the rest of his minutes come in the second half. Joakim Noah is a tough assignment for anybody, so O’Neal was stuck there. The Aussie is expected back on Saturday.|
|Stephen Curry, PG 43 MIN | 13-19 FG | 4-4 FT | 3 REB | 9 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 34 PTS | +12After an off-night on Tuesday that saw Curry finish 1/7 from deep for 17 points and the worse loss of the season, Curry bounced back in a big way on national TV. Curry made shots from everywhere, many of them contested as he finished with a modest 34 points (13/19 from the field), nine assists and only three turnovers. There’s just not much the opposition can do when Curry finds his stroke, as the Bulls were witnesses to that very moment on Thursday night. The Bulls threw a multitude of defenders at Curry, but it didn’t matter. The ball movement was also much improved in large part to the Warriors going smaller and limiting (surprise!) post-ups and isolation plays. The Bulls made him work on both ends, as even Hinrich and Augustin made Curry look bad on the defensive end. Curry has a tough assignment on Saturday as he faces the All-Star snub Goran Dragic, another crafty guard that is also shooting 51% on the season.|
|Klay Thompson, SG 40 MIN | 8-16 FG | 3-3 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 22 PTS | +10I can nitpick about Thompson’s lone rebound, one assist and his terrible sequence early in the 4Q that saw him both travel and produce another #Klayup for our enjoyment. But Thompson deserves better than that as he actually had one of his better games of the new year. When the Splash Brothers combine to shoot 60% from the field, odds are the Warriors have won the game. Thompson made Jimmy Butler — a good defender — work and run around the floor all night. The Bulls were playing their fourth game in six nights, and the backcourt took full advantage. As Charles Barkley constantly makes it known, this is a team predicated on their two guards, and when both are off the team simply doesn’t have the weapons to overcome it. That didn’t matter tonight, but it will continue to be a concern as long as Curry and Thompson are on the same team. It was nice to see Thompson step up when two starters were out, and they’ll need another complete performance from him come Saturday.|
Quote of the game:
It’s tough because a lot of the shots he got were contested. I look at Thibs; a couple of times he shot it on me I was right in his face. It’s one of those times in the NBA when you contest a shot like that, especially on a good shooter, you’ve got to live with. You contest it, give it your all, and he’s just knocking down tough shots. A guy like that, when he gets hot it’s so hard to slow him down, as you can tell. — Taj Gibson on Stephen Curry
Looking ahead: The Warriors now round out their week with a matchup with the Phoenix Suns (29-20). Mark Jackson noted before Thursday night’s game that David Lee is likely out for Saturday’s game but Andrew Bogut should be able to go. The Warriors then welcome in two teams to Oracle before hitting their All-Star break: Philadelphia (Monday) and Miami (Wednesday).
Draymond Green reaction of the night:
What can you do?
Your Splash Brothers shot chart of the night:
Your second-unit update of the night: Harrison Barnes struggled mightily in the first half, missing all five of his shots, committing two turnovers and looking every bit the tentative hermit we’ve seen all season. After doing little in the third quarter, Barnes finally arrived in the final stanza: 4/4 from the field (3/3 from deep) for 11 points and finishing with six rebounds. To borrow a phrase from Mark Jackson, Barnes is a process, and we shouldn’t expect playoff Barnes to come back in one game, two games or even a handful of games. It will take a string of games with consistent production on both ends of the floor for me to believe that he is back. We are starting to see some signs of life, but given the expectations before the season that’s hardly the production this team needs to reach their potential.
Jordan Crawford had his most complete game since joining the Warriors: 5/10 from the field, 11 points, five rebounds and three assists in 20+ minutes. He’s not the answer at backup point guard, but can he sustain some level of competence at the position where the Warriors won’t have to acquire another guard? That’s the question, and so far the Warriors bench is only slightly improved since his arrival. I did like seeing Crawford play with Curry, which opens the floor up a little more for Steezus to operate. Jackson noted after the game that he knows what Crawford is best at (getting buckets) and that he will put Crawford in the game when he’s comfortable with letting his newest guard go to work. He’s earned the increase in minutes.
Mo will be Mo.