Tonight, the NBA schedule provided us with a very quality game between the Chicago Bulls and the Golden State Warriors. On one hand, you have a team that is capable of filling the stat sheet offensively on any given night in the Warriors. On the other, you have a team that is known for playing some of the best defense in the entire league in the Bulls.
Feb. 6 was the last time that these two teams met. In that game, the offensive firepower of the Warriors proved to be too much later in the games as Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson combined for 56 total points. Specific to tonight’s game, you had to wonder how the team planned to slow down the duo.
Tonight’s game didn’t go the same way at all. Defense prevailed this time, as the Bulls stifled the not only Curry and Thompson, but the entire Warrior starting lineup. Much credit has to be given to Kirk Hinrich and the returning Jimmy Butler for forcing the Warriors guards to take uncomfortable, contested shots. In the prior game, Curry finished with 34 points and made four three point field goals. Tonight, the Bulls’ defense held him to a humbling five points and a single three pointer.
As a team, the Warriors shot below 40 percent in the game, just over 20 percent from three. On the season, their averages are around 45 percent from the field and 37 percent from three. That should indicate the level of defensive pressure that the Bulls are capable of when the defense functions the way coach Tom Thibodeau envisions it.
As the statistics will show, the Bulls’ scoring offense is still the worst in the NBA. At times, you have to wonder where the scoring will come from when the shots around the paint aren’t falling. Tonight, they were able to surpass their total points per game average on the season and eclipse the 100 point mark for the third time in their last five games.
Fans would definitely like to see this level of intensity and efficiency on both sides of the ball on a more consistent basis.