The Chicago Bulls deserve a lot of credit for the way they played tonight. Missing their leading scorer in Jimmy Butler, who is also likely their best perimeter defender, they still managed to eek out a victory despite never leading by more than two points. Derrick Rose's 11 turnovers certainly hurt their cause, but they made up for the resulting fastbreak points with a strong rebounding advantage (61-48).
With all three of our true centers sidelined, Draymond Green, David Lee and Marreese Speights had to work hard on the glass. The Dubs also relied on Draymond as their defensive anchor most of the game, and relied on Lee for points in the paint when our long range shooting dried up. So yeah, our fill-in centers had a lot on their plate. While we're on the subject, Lee had a great game tonight, with 24 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists in just 30 minutes. Those are LeBron James numbers? Draymond had so many hustle plays it's hard to keep track, plus this is also kind of standard at this point. His highlight had to have been that heroic tip-in that sent the game to overtime.
Chicago played a lot of 2-man game tonight, both pick-and-roll and posting/reposting. Thibodeau may have clued in on Kerr's tendency to have a perimeter defender help any post player not named Draymond Green or Andrew Bogut (and sometimes Draymond as well, if there's a big size mismatch). With a quick passer in the post like Pau Gasol, as well as decent 3-pt shooters, teams can use this tendency against us to get a quick 3. Something to keep an eye on moving forward.
Klay Thompson teased the fans in the opening minutes, making his first six field goals, including three 3-pointers, prompting comparisons to his 37 point eruption against the Sacramento Kings. Unfortunately the hot shooting from distance did not last, as the Warriors finished with an ugly 0 for 13 stretch after the half.
As the game went on, the Warriors' squad did show signs of fatigue, as many of those 3-point attempts were uncontested. Is this the schedule getting to the team? And the pressure of playing at such a high level night after night? Or can we just attribute that sour patch to variance?
I'm not sure why Steve Kerr was angry that Andre Iguodala didn't get to the line at the end of OT, after being fouled under the basket (referees ruled that it wasn't a shooting foul). I guess just on principle that the refs got the call wrong? We had a better chance of tying or winning the way the game was called, considering Andre's subpar free throw shooting (tie: ~40% vs ~25%). Looking ahead to the playoffs, it's a growing concern that two of our best defenders (Andre, Andrew Bogut) are also our worst free throw shooters, and could be sidelined down the stretch for this reason.
The Warriors have been bringing a lot of energy to these big matchups, and it seems like opposing teams are responding. The fans are rewarded with playoff caliber play early in many of these games, and it's impressive how the Warriors continue to bring this same ferocious mindset. Already looking forward to the Atlanta Hawks on February 6th.