They couldn’t have missed him if they tried this time.
Richardson had 27 points, eight rebounds and four assists, and the Warriors beat the winless Chicago Bulls 98-85 Wednesday night.
Richardson also had three steals and two blocked shots, just the kind of complete game he worked all summer to attain. And just the kind of game Golden State expects of its star player, signed to a six-year contract extension worth $70 million earlier this month.
“I’m relaxing, having fun. No pressure, back like it’s my rookie year,” Richardson said. “You want to share the ball, shoot the ball well and get some blocks.”
Speedy Claxton added 14 points and 11 assists before fouling out late for the Warriors, who won at home for the first time in four games this season.
Troy Murphy had 17 points and eight rebounds, and reserve Derek Fisher scored 13 points. The Warriors matched their biggest lead of the season at 22 points when they started the third quarter with a 10-0 spurt.
Kirk Hinrich had 15 points and 10 assists to lead the Bulls, who fell to 0-6 — and 0-34 on their annual November road trip to the West Coast the past six years. Chicago and New Orleans are the only NBA teams still without a win.
The Bulls haven’t won out West since Michael Jordan’s final season in Chicago, when they beat Sacramento on Nov. 23, 1997. They are just three losses shy of matching the worst overall start in franchise history, 0-9 by the 1967-68 team.
Chicago, which played the second game of a seven-game road trip, has lost six straight in Oakland and eight of 11 overall in the series.
“We got dominated in every aspect of the game,” coach Scott Skiles said. “We came out flat. It looked like we had no concept of a game plan, and it was very disappointing.”
It doesn’t get easier for the Bulls, either. They play Friday at Denver, Sunday at the Los Angeles Lakers, next Monday at Phoenix and next Wednesday at Utah. Chicago wraps up the road trip at Cleveland next Saturday.
“We’re all frustrated right now,” Piatkowski said. “We felt coming into tonight’s game that we were playing pretty good basketball, but we didn’t play very well.”
The Warriors shot 44 percent, but used a big first half on offense to take control.
Rookie coach Mike Montgomery wants the Warriors to establish an up-tempo style of play at home that makes fans want to come to games. Golden State is in a stretch with nine of 12 games in the Oakland Arena.
“You’ve got to put in people’s minds it’s going to be tough to get a win here,” said Cliff Robinson, who added 12 points.
The Warriors lost their first three at home to open the season, then went 1-4 on a recent five-game road trip, picking up their first victory at expansion Charlotte on Saturday.
Golden State made 11 of its first 14 shots—Richardson scored seven straight points over a span of 1:02—to shoot 57.1 percent in the opening period. The Warriors also forced the Bulls into eight turnovers.
It was Richardson’s third straight game scoring 27 points.
“J Rich is ballin’ right now,” Claxton said. “He’s in the zone.”
The Warriors’ 29 second-quarter points were their most in a period at home this season. They shot 55 percent in the first half for a 56-44 halftime lead.
Both teams had season highs in turnovers with 24. … Golden State G Mickael Pietrus has been cleared by doctors to practice after recovering from left shoulder surgery, and he will probably play Saturday against Memphis. Pietrus is scheduled to practice at full speed Thursday for the first time since undergoing arthroscopic surgery after he dislocated his shoulder in the Warriors’ first summer league game July 12 against San Antonio. … Warriors F Eduardo Najera played only two minutes because of a strained left shoulder that’s been bothering him in recent games. … Nocioni left midway through the third quarter with a cut over his right eye, returned to the bench and played four minutes later.