After a less-than-stellar streak of play following the 24-and-0 run to start the season, the Warriors appear to have rediscovered their early season form. In a performance reminiscent of its demolition of Cleveland on Monday, Golden State again put the clamps down on an Eastern Conference heavyweight, this time blowing out the Windy City Bulls by 31 points. With the victory, the Warriors are now 39-4.

Here are 10 thoughts on the game:

1) The Bulls didn’t play particularly poorly in this game, especially early when they jumped out to an 8-5 advantage. Chicago was mainly done in by an inability to convert on a number of good looks (1-20 3-point attempts). But that’s the difference between a “good team” and the Warriors. When the Dubs are locked-in, they can defend like madmen (37% opponent FG, 9 blocks, 8 steals); make multiple probing passes (38 assists!); and consistently get open looks near the basket off sharp cuts (58 points in the paint). When they play at that level the opposing team needs to play near-perfect ball to pull off an upset.

2) The Warriors under Mark Jackson used to relentlessly hunt for mismatches. That strategy sounds good in theory, but in practice those “mismatches” often resulted in a Klay Thompson or Harrison Barnes iso on the low block with a short clock, not exactly the areas on the floor where those players excelled. The Steve Kerr Warriors more effectively try to find advantageous situations from those mismatches. Instead of forcing an iso post-up regardless of whether that player works well down low, the Ws want their player in a position he’s comfortable in when going against a compromised defender. In one example from last night, as soon as the Warriors noticed Doug McDermott was guarding Klay, they ran him off multiple screens knowing the slow-footed McDermott would have a hard time keeping up. That strategy led to a wide open three. That’s the kind of advantage a good offense can create instead of just forcing a “mismatch” and “pounding them down low” as Jackson advised the Bulls do on the telecast when the Warriors went small.

Andrew Bogut Taj Gibson3) Derrick Rose treated viewers to a vintage performance (29 points), especially in the first half when he hit 10 of 15 shots for 21 points and had one ball-on-a-string crossover on Andrew Bogut. But instead of being happy to see D-Rose play like the D-Rose of old, his night only served to remind me of how much injuries has derailed his career. He’s averaging 15.4 points on 41% shooting for the season.

4) Even on a sore back, Bogut was huge in the paint (12 boards, 3 blocks). He’s the third-best center in defensive RPM in the league for good reason. In the third quarter, Bogues had a fantastically-timed weak side block on Taj Gibson that led Van Gundy and Breen to spend the next minute lauding his defensive effort. Meanwhile Jackson remained silent, and that silence hung noticeably in the air, like a disrespected butterfly.

5) Steph was a game-high +36 in 34 minutes despite shooting “only” 3-of-9 from deep. The reason, again, is that even on an off shooting night, his threat as a shooter creates multiple open looks for his teammates. In the first quarter, Pau Gasol’s split second hesitation on Steph coming off a screen cost his team two points. Not three minutes later he gets two Bulls to jump out at him at the 3-point line, which left Draymond wide open for a dunk. That’s the challenge teams face trying to guard the MVP, one left foot planted in the wrong direction and BOOM! you’re cooked.

6) Similar to the Cavs game, Steph, Draymond and Klay’s minutes were again staggered a bit more than usual. Having at least one of those guys on the floor at all times with Iguodala and HB seems to help the bench unit avoid those disastrous 3-to-10 runs. And it also seems to help me avoid throwing something against the wall.

Stephen Curry Dunks7) Leandro Barbosa wore some kind of padded inner jersey that looked a bit like my nephew’s Captain America costume. Maybe he was able to summon the Marvel hero’s powers for those 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting.

8) Draymond picked up his 10th technical of the season. Six more and he gets a one-game suspension. Every second tech after that is another suspension.

9) A Mo Buckets three-point basket in the fourth quarter is the Warriors version of a human victory cigar.

10) Sorry, Luke, despite your wishes, Steph’s not going for the layup. Make that three jams on the season. This one left-handed!

2 Responses

  1. Sports Bet Global

    After dismantling the Cavs and Bulls, it’s pretty clear the Eastern Conference isn’t much of a threat to the Warriors.

    Their only two risks now are an unexpected injury to a key player, or possibly the Spurs.

    Vegas has the Warriors’ odds of winning the NBA title at +180 as of today, with the Cavaliers the next closest at +275 and the Spurs at +295.

    I can’t see the Cavaliers changing their play style between now and June enough to make them a legit threat to the Warriors. The Spurs will be a tough out if the Dubs draw them in the Conference Finals, but who knows how tired the Spurs will by then, especially if they have to keep up with the Warriors for a 7-game series?