After the blowout loss in Oklahoma City, the Golden State Warriors wanted to get that bad taste out of their mouths.
There was certainly an opportunity to get back on the winning track when the lowly Chicago Bulls came to Oracle Arena on Friday night. That said, there were some potential complications for this game— both Kevin Durant (ankle) and Draymond Green (rest) would not be playing as Omri Casspi and Jordan Bell would be taking their respective spots in the starting lineup. If the Bulls were going to steal a game from the Warriors, it would be one like this when half of their All-Stars were out of the lineup. That, however, was not what happened as the Warriors annihilated the Bulls, 143-94.
Foul trouble marred the first quarter
The rookie Bell started the game strong and made some quality plays in the opening minutes. He scored the game’s first two points on this layup assisted by Stephen Curry.
The chef with a dish to Bell pic.twitter.com/mzFOzoyOPV— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) November 25, 2017
The Bulls had to focus so much on Curry that his gravity drew away the defenders from Bell allowing him to drive to the bucket. While Curry drawing in defenders and then making a great pass is a fairly regular thing in Warriors land, Bell’s other first quarter offensive highlight was a bit more surprising.
Zaza with the steal & alley, Jordan with the OOP! pic.twitter.com/avIsu3yMag— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) November 25, 2017
Zaza Pachulia, not known for having quick hands, makes the steal and then tosses up the alley-oop that Bell slammed home, pushing the Warriors lead to 5.
The Warriors’ other fill-in starter made a nifty play in the first as well.
Omri CLUTCHsspi pic.twitter.com/pzFrBGpm62— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) November 25, 2017
Casspi made the steal and then got the ball to Quinn Cook for the fast-break layup. Though Casspi finished with just 6 points, he once again looked quite natural in Steve Kerr’s system (tallying 4 assists while not turning the ball over) and continues to solidify his place in the Warriors rotation.
However, despite these early contributions from Bell and Casspi, the Warriors trailed by three at the end of the first quarter. Part of that had to do with the Warriors getting into early foul trouble, as Curry picked up two fouls with six minutes left to go in the first while Bell earned three in the quarter as well.
Jordan Bell in a nutshell there: Rises for a spike block of a Robin Lopez layup, then gets too amped for another, flies onto a shooter in corner for 3rd first quarter foul.— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) November 25, 2017
The Bulls were also aided by abnormally good shooting (55% from the field) and 10 points from Denzel Valentine. But those would be Valentine’s only points of the night as things turned very dramatically as the game moved into the second quarter.
Stephen Curry dominates the second quarter
The second quarter belonged wholly to Curry as he scored 26 points in the quarter, outscoring the entire Bulls team, who only scored 21. With the Warriors leading by one point, Curry launched a personal 8-0 run that extended the lead as the Warriors began to run away from the Bulls and put this game out of reach.
8 straight points from @StephenCurry30 pic.twitter.com/mgf3MqkVQf— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) November 25, 2017
Later in the quarter, Curry scored on an acrobatic reverse layup while also drawing a foul, eliciting the rare shimmy-flex combo celebration.
Stop it, Steph. pic.twitter.com/xEKTJk3e52— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) November 25, 2017
Curry was not alone as Andre Iguodala also scored 5 of his 10 points in the quarter, two of which came on this thunderous dunk.
That's one bad Andre! pic.twitter.com/DAXykbZBNP— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) November 25, 2017
It was Iguodala’s third game of the season where he reached double digits in points, but he did so in considerably fewer minutes than those other instances, playing just 17 minutes on Friday night.
With Curry and Iguodala leading the way, the Warriors outscored the Bulls in that second quarter 45-21, allowing them to possess a 21-point lead when the first half ended.
Klay Thompson got hot in the third quarter
The Warriors did not ease up in the third quarter, outscoring the Bulls 36-13 as they pushed their lead to an astronomical 44 points. While Curry had the supremely hot hand in the second quarter, it was Thompson who caught fire in the third. 3 of his 13 points in the quarter came on this very lucky 3-point with the interesting assist from JaVale McGee.
Shooter's roll pic.twitter.com/8rkzrAibLc— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) November 25, 2017
Bell joined Thompson in having a spectacular third quarter. The rookie from Oregon provided another highlight, this time on the defensive end of the floor.
.@1jordanbell is making rim protection an art form. ❌ pic.twitter.com/Owq83VIk05— NBA TV (@NBATV) November 25, 2017
Bell, who was drafted by the Warriors as a result of a trade with the Bulls for cash considerations, looked like he was out to show the Bulls what they missed out on. Bell finished with a, dare I say, Green-esque stat line—7 points, 6 rebounds, 6 blocks, 4 assists, and 2 steals in 26 minutes of action.
Lauri Markkanen, Bell’s on-court counterpart, did not have as good a night as his fellow 2017 draftee. Markkanen finished with just 14 points on 4 for 16 shooting while the Bulls as a team shot 35.4% from the field. Markkanen was the Bulls second-leading scorer, behind Jerian Grant’s 21 points. However, the majority of Grant’s points came in the fourth quarter, when Kerr pulled his starters and the game was for all intents and purposes over as the Bulls offense failed to do anything in the meaningful minutes of the game.
Nick Young, Patrick McCaw get reps in the fourth quarter
Holding a 44-point lead when the fourth quarter started, the Warriors emptied the bench and let the reserves cover the game’s final 12 minutes. Despite having Curry, Thompson, and Iguodala all resting, the Warriors were able to keep their high-powered offense going. I’m not one who usually turns to memes to explain things, but this one definitely sums up what it was like watching the Warriors in that fourth quarter as their shots continued to fall.
Not surprisingly, it was Nick Young who lit up the stat sheet in the game’s final frame. Young scored 14 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter, including one spectacular 3-pointer.
Nick Young just went full @DrewLeague pic.twitter.com/xaYN2Uzg2r— Logan Murdock (@loganmmurdock) November 25, 2017
While these were not intense minutes against a playoff-caliber team, it was important for players like Young and Patrick McCaw (who knocked down 2 3-pointers in the fourth quarter) to get reps at game speed and to see the ball go through the basket.
For McCaw in particular, who has dropped out of Kerr’s rotation, getting some baskets (even if they came during peak garbage time) might help him get into a better rhythm so that he’ll be ready when he’s needed to play extended minutes.
Bell explained his money gesture after the game
But, with his first NBA start under his belt, let’s let Bell have the last word on this game.
Hey @NBCSBulls, there could have been another Jordan in Chicago pic.twitter.com/rSa7O9cOzC— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) November 25, 2017
Jordan Bell with the athletic double jump block. Peep the lowkey celebration at the end pic.twitter.com/s3BOeTP8QG— Logan Murdock (@loganmmurdock) November 25, 2017
After both of those plays, Bell gave the money gesture, alluding to those infamous cash considerations for which he was traded. Bell was asked about this in the post-game press conference and made it crystal clear what he was trying to convey.
Jordan Bell on the money celebration: "I wanted to see how cash consideration was playing over there"— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) November 25, 2017
Bell really may be following in Green’s footsteps, both in his on-court play as well as with his trash talking.
One shouldn’t read too much into this game, as the Warriors handily defeated an opponent they should have. However, it was good to see the Warriors dominate a game like we know they can. Also, that Curry and Thompson were able to sit out the entire fourth quarter was important, as the Warriors play the second game of a back-to-back against the New Orleans Pelicans later tonight. Allowing Curry and Thompson to get that rest and thus be able to play a full compliment of minutes on Saturday night was a big thing for Kerr. The Warriors will need the offensive punch of Curry and Thompson against Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins, who have been playing well of late.
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