The Golden State Warriors were playing their best basketball since their 10 game winning streak ending in January. For the first time all season, Golden State was at full strength with David Lee returning from a stomach flu, and the Bulls playing on the second night of a back-to-back.
The scene was set for the Warriors to win their fifth straight but the team simply did not show up in Chicago. Instead, the Warriors looked sluggish and tired, looking like a team that played the previous night, even though it was the Bulls that played the night before. The result was their worst game of the season, falling to the Chicago Bulls, 103-83.
The biggest reason the Warriors lost this game was the play of their All-Star, Stephen Curry. Curry had his worst game of the season, tallying only five points on 2-of-10 shooting from the field. He managed only five assists and turned the ball over five times as well. The Bulls stopped Curry by blitzing the pick-and-roll, which most teams do, and were able to completely shut down Curry’s offensive game. They were physical with him when he had the ball and coming off screens, contesting all his jumpers and making it very difficult for him to locate the open man.
Even if he found that open man, it did not mean the Warriors were going to have success. The Warriors shot a miserable 36 percent from the field with only Jordan Crawford, Jermaine O’Neal and Andrew Bogut shooting over 50 percent. Crawford led the team with 16 points but 12 of these points came in the fourth quarter with the game already decided.
During the Warriors win streak, they did two things superbly: played great defense and did not turn the ball over. Against the Bulls, they did neither of these things and paid the price for it. The Warriors allowed the Bulls to score 103 points, a recipe for disaster for Golden State, as they dropped to 8-21 when their opponents score 100 points or more. They were also severely outrebounded, 56-41, an anomaly for the second-best rebounding team in the NBA.
Careless turnovers fuel opponents’ offense and Wednesday night was no difference. The Warriors turned it over 16 times that led to 19 Bulls points with most of those points coming in transition and on the break. Five of those turnovers came from Curry leading to six Bulls points, two dunks and one jumper.
The only positive that came out of this game was the fact that no starter played more than 28 minutes and all should be rested and ready to go on Friday night against the Knicks. The offense and defense should bounce back against the mediocre Knicks especially Curry, whose last game there was his most memorable yet. Curry dropped 54 points at Madison Square Garden last February in Curry’s best game of his career. He probably won’t duplicate this performance but look for him and rest of the Warriors to put on a show at MSG and start a new winning streak.