Warriors 101, Bulls 81
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—Such easy victories are rare for the Golden State Warriors, mostly because they rarely play such impressive defense.
Golden State followed up a home win over Minnesota with a dominating victory over the Bulls, who were held to 34 percent shooting by a team not known for defensive prowess—or even defensive competence—until this season.
After allowing more than 103 points per game last season, the Warriors are allowing just 95 this season. Coach Eric Musselman credits the tenacity to personnel changes and the dedication of the Warriors’ newcomers, even in the midst of another trying season for a team that’s missed the playoffs for nine straight years.
“Defensively, we did a phenomenal job,” Musselman said. “We’ve put together two of our best defensive games of the year back-to-back, in our coaching staff’s eyes.”
Jamal Crawford scored 16 points for the Bulls, who barely contended in their ninth loss in 10 games—and their seventh straight road loss. At 13-34, Chicago is a half-game ahead of Orlando for last place overall in the NBA.
“I thought right from the beginning of the game, we didn’t show up,” Chicago coach Scott Skiles said. “From clips we saw at halftime, we were very embarrassed at our lack of execution. We looked like we didn’t care whether we were here playing or not. We got tattooed. They outplayed us all over the floor.”
Dunleavy hit five 3-pointers, but didn’t return after spraining his left ankle early in the third quarter. X-rays were negative, and Dunleavy was listed as day-to-day. The Warriors also played without injured point guard Nick Van Exel.
No matter: Golden State took a 19-point lead at halftime and expanded it to 25 in the third quarter, then gave its starters most of the fourth quarter off. Claxton was impressive in his eighth straight start, getting eight assists and hitting five of seven shots.
“It doesn’t matter if they’re in first place or last place,” Richardson said. “We still have to play well enough to beat anybody. It’s nice to see a bunch of guys getting into the action on offense, if that’s what it takes to win.”
The Warriors took charge with a 16-2 run early in the second quarter, including two 3-pointers by Dunleavy. His third 3-pointer of the first half gave Golden State a 19-point lead 2.1 seconds before halftime.
Claxton was far too speedy for Bulls rookie guard Kirk Hinrich, who fouled out with 4:55 left in the third quarter and Chicago trailing by 24. Hinrich walked straight to the baseline and collapsed in frustration after committing his sixth foul.
“I was sitting over there thinking about what I have to do to get these guys’ respect,” Hinrich said. “I have to play better and play through it. … I have to find a way to help this team, especially when things aren’t going well.”
Chicago is 8-56 on the road since last season, including losses in the first three games of its current seven-game road trip. This was the first of five games in eight days for the Bulls, who haven’t beaten a Western Conference team on the road in 24 tries.
Golden State is back in decent form, going 6-5 since a seven-game losing streak. But the Warriors still are well out of the playoff chase, and expensive veterans Dampier and Van Exel are the subject of trade rumors.
Dampier had another strong game, recording his 24th double-double of theseason despite playing just 26 minutes.
Both teams wore throwback jerseys, and the Warriors improved to 4-0 in their yellow “The City” uniforms from the 1966-67 season. … Bulls F Corie Blount, who played 38 games with Golden State to close the 2000-01 season, didn’t dress with a bruised left knee. Blount led the Bulls in rebounding in each of their previous two games. … Van Exel missed his eighth straight gamewith a knee injury. He has been away from the Warriors recently.