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First Quarter: 28 - 29
The Warriors jumped into the game spry and free, but were met with an equally spry and free Bulls club. Jimmy Butler, after announcing his intentions to check Curry, started out on Draymond Green instead.
Kirk Hinrich started on Curry, and perfectly played his "foul you every 2 seconds" defense. He roughed up Curry, but he's sort of the Andrew Bogut of 1s--he just gets away with it. He's a 6'4" disruptor, adept at getting under your skin. On a scramble contest on a Barnes three, he even got in a little tap on Barnes' sternum as he was releasing his shot. No reason, really. It was just sort of a Lance Stephenson-esque "get into your head" move.
That's all fine, and good, anyone could've told you Hinrich was coming in with the intentions of roughing up Curry. The problem early on was Hinrich's offensive burst. Bulls fans refer to this phenomena as "national broadcast Hinrich", as he has a penchant for producing on the big stage. Hinrich came out, scoring nine points in the first six minutes of the quarter.
Draymond Green started off on Nikola Mirotic, and alternated between not honoring his shot and literally leaving his feet to contest a pump fake 27 feet from the rim. Andrew Bogut matched up against Pau Gasol, and Pau's range predictably bothered Bogut early on. Despite the weight loss, Bogut has a hard time defending 16 feet away from the basket.
The Bulls jumped out to an early 11 point lead through Hinrich's aforementioned Uzi burst and Gasol's advantage over Bogut. Steph picked up where he left of last night, in both the good and the bad sense. He had two lazy passes picked off near half court, but also eight points with two threes.
After a good Walton timeout, however, the tides turned in the Warriors' favor. Festus Ezeli came in for Bogut, Andre Iguodala checked in, and the Warriors clamped down on defense while finding more open looks on offense. Shaun Livingston checked in with 3:00 remaining and made a big impact, first finishing off a bad possession with an impossible turnaround fading midrange shot over Joakim Noah, then finishing off a good defensive stand with a big boy rebound among the trees.
Curry also straight up took the ball away from Noah.
Jimmy Butler led the Bulls with perfect 4 - 4 shooting from the field. The Warriors were 3 for 4 on lobs this quarter.
Second Quarter: 50 - 47
The Andre - Barnes - Leandro Barbosa - Liv - Ezeli tandem were on the court to start the quarter, and they played lights out. They started things off with the standard weave, resulting in a decisive Barnes shot that gave them the 30 - 29 lead.
The Warriors were judicious with their doubling the post. Andre still somehow gets no respect from refs, as he picked up a foul helping out Barnes in a flash double on Gibson early on. The Warriors went back to the weave a second time, resulting in a Barnes missed corner trey. H.B. showcased great hustle all night, to go along with consistent shooting once again.
The second unit's defense was lights out early on. It took until 8:03 in the quarter for the Bulls to get their first points. Barbosa returned with his gunner's mentality, yet the actual guns weren't there. He started out 1 - 5 from the field.Despite this, the Warriors took a 35 - 29 lead over that time span.
Bogut checked back into the game soon after the Bulls found the bucket for the first time in the quarter. Coach Fred Hoiberg apparently watched his tape, because the Bulls just refused to body up against Bogut when he operated from the mid post, resulting in an awkward 15 seconds of the Warriors running around and Bogut trying to find a cutter.
Mirotic and Gasol gave the Warriors subs a problem through sheer size disparity on mismatches in transition and off of switches. Ian Clark had a particularly bad sequence of getting walled off by Mirotic under the hoop then fouling him while Mirotic laid it in, giving the Bulls a three point play and cutting the lead to three.
That play came amidst a 7 - 0 run by the Bulls, ironically as the starters were being rotated back in. It's not often that I'll say this, but this was a game for Festus, not Bogut. Gasol ate Bogut's lunch, yet luckily Walton and Hoiberg's rotations were such that Noah spent more of Bogut's time on the court with him in the second quarter.
In any case, Walton subbed Bogut out for Barnes, and the Warriors retook the lead on an Iguodala three. A second H.B. corner three put the lead back up to 48 - 44 with a minute left. This was a good Walton substitution, and it forced Hoiberg to call a timeout. Except he didn't adjust anything, and the Bulls just did a really obvious "two for one" strategy; so I guess he just used that time to contemplate the intricacies of life and the inevitability of fate's cruel hand. Or something.
The Warriors were 0 for 1 on lobs in this quarter.
Andre and Ezeli paced the Warriors at +15 and +14 respectively. Bogut, understandably so, was -16 at the half. All of the starters were at least -1, while the bench outscored the Bulls' backups 18 - 0. The dynamic duo of Andre and Ezeli were standout performances through their defense and steady hand on offense. Barnes was the second biggest contributor, thanks to his timely offense.
Hinrich, after his "national game Hinrich" mode through the first six minutes, didn't score at all in the second quarter. And the bench for the Bulls didn't score at all... and neither did Tony Snell, they're starting 3... which means Mirotic, Gasol, and Butler combined to score 38 points, or 81% of the entire Bulls' offense.
The Bulls' largest advantage, outside of Gasol on Bogut, was that they committed as many turnovers (three) as Steph Curry did by himself at the half.
Third Quarter: 77 -73
The Bulls came out of halftime with a renewed determination to attack mismatches created by the Warriors switch everything defense. It worked out well, and a mental lapse by Klay Thompson to not box out Tony Snell resulted in a 51 - 50 Bulls advantage early on.
Curry did more stuff with the ball.
Shimmy shimmy ya https://t.co/LmxbcwafVD— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) November 21, 2015
The mental lapses continued. Butler got an And-1, then missed his FT. Lane violation, white team. Reload the FT. Money. Barnes had Mirotic guarding him most of the quarter, yet only attacked it twice in six minutes, resulting in two points.
The Warriors' disregard for the attention to details and waning efforts continued, as Jimmy Butler's attention to detail and increasing effort level showcased the damage such a disparity can cause. Butler grabbed an offensive board (again, no box out), passed it out. Green guarded no one, then realized he should probably check Butler, rushing out to barely contest an open Butler three. Splash.
The Bulls took advantage of these mental lapses, resulting in a 67 - 70 lead. Curry and Draymond had back to back live ball turnovers to fuel the Bulls' run.
The Bulls really loved to set PnRs with Butler with the ball and Curry's man as the roll man, leading to attacking lanes for Butler. And Jesus H. Christ, if Butler doesn't ever instill the very essence of competition. By the end of the quarter, Curry was hobbled after Bogut pushed Noah onto him and Draymond was gimpy as he walked to the bench; and there was Butler running around, deflecting full-court passes like Eric Weddle.
JVG: "And they, uh, Hack-a-McAdoo"
Other guy: "Is that the first time you've said that in your life?"
JVG: "Let's hope so."
Diabolical Hoiberg tried to Hack-a-Doo, but James Michael McAdoo hit the two FTs with one hand while faking sarcastic tears in the direction of Hoiberg. Then Klay missed a FT on the next possession and the coolness factor was lowered a bit.
Warriors ended the quarter on a 10 - 3 run, as Butler perplexingly stopped handling as much, and the Warriors got out to run. Klay and Curry played the entire quarter, while Livingston failed to see the floor.
Fourth Quarter: 106 - 94
Walton went with a McAdoo - Festus - Barbosa - Liv - Iguodala lineup. It... looked alright for a moment. McAdoo turned it over, but then scored on the next possession, followed by an Andre pull up. The strategy was to attack whoever Doug McDermott was defending, known as the "Fredette Strategy". Barbosa even continued his interest in defense, deflecting a pass.
And then he airballed a three. And then Festus jumped into an obvious Mirotic pump fake on a three pointer. And then Thompson and Barnes and Dray went back in.
The game plan by the coaches failed to tell the players that Mirotic is shooting 37% from the field this season. That, or McAdoo and Festus forgot about that. But I digress. Here's another good lob that happened tonight:
Curry came in around the middle of the fourth and was clutch as usual. Klay stumbled into the most un-hustling hustle ball grab of all time and handed it off to Curry for a dagger at the top of the key. Sidenote: Klay passed to Curry like, a lot, this game. He even had other options on a fastbreak, and went with an across-the-court pass to Curry. Amazing.
Thompson shot an airball on the ensuing possession, because SEGABABA legs. SBDS was substituted in a moment later, leading to a great Green behind the back pass to Curry to push the lead to five. Hoiberg put Gibson in to counter the versatility of SBDS.
The Warriors played swarming defense. Curry turned the ball over because of mental fuzziness. Butler was the best player on the floor not named Iguodala (except on FTs). And then Barnes happened.
Barnes hit a three with 1:03 left to make it 99 - 92.
Barnes stayed down on Mirotic who flopped himself into an air ball then grabbed the rebound.
Barnes hit a three with 41.2 seconds left to make it 102 - 92.
Then it was all fouling and desperation shots to get to the final score. Your box score.
- Walton went with McAdoo in place of Speights, and was rewarded for his tinkering
- Gasol is an even worse match up for Bogut than Mozgov
- Expect to see more of Curry's man screening out a wing playmaker in coming games
- Barnes and Iguodala were fantastic; Steph merely good
- The only people happier than Dub Nation right now are the ESPN execs who picked up Game 15
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