I am still trying to figure out what on Earth just happened.
The Bulls were down as many as 19 late in the third quarter . Then, all of a sudden, Zach LaVine hit a three with 2:27 left in the fourth to cut the deficit to one point.
Ultimately, the Bulls fell 119-11 to the Warriors.
This game was not as close as the score might suggest. The Warriors were loafing around after going up big late in the third. Klay Thompson was resting on the bench with ice on his knees. Stephen Curry was passing up shots in favor of some insane shot-making from Jordan Poole (30 points on 11-of-18 shooting).
The Bulls had a nice push in the fourth that made it respectable. Behind a strong but fell victim to the pace, energy and scrappiness that is the duo of Javonte Green (13 points on 5-of-7 shooting) and Goran Dragic (14 points on 6-of-11 shooting).
The Bulls are now 9-13 on the season and have lost three-of-four games.
Here are my takeaways.
Billy Donovan’s adjustments
Billy Donovan shoving adjustments in the face of haters and losers everywhere.
Announced before tip, the Bulls started their usual trio of DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic. But against the Warriors, he swapped Alex Caruso in for Ayo Dosunmu and Javonte Green for Patrick Williams.
The starting group had only played two possessions together, but was plus 83.3 per 100 possessions. In other words, extremely successful in basically zero sample size. They were even with the Warriors starters through the first 6.5 minutes of the game, but the wheels fell off after that.
Later in the first quarter, the Bulls went back their old rotation from last year, with DeRozan coming out of the game early, leaving LaVine and Vucevic in with the second group. That left DeRozan to play alongside Goran Dragic.
Despite that, the Bulls used two different groups in the final minutes of the first half, using LaVine, DeRozan and Vucevic with duos of Caruso and Williams and Dosunmu and Green. Foul trouble messed things up a bit, but it was interesting to see Donovan go to new groups in a big time matchup.
The challenge of guarding the Warriors
I wanted to show a quick video breakdown of why the Warriors split actions are so tough to guard.
This is perfect basketball.
DeMar DeRozan’s atrocious first half
Sometimes, it’s not your night.
DeRozan hasn’t had many stinkers. Sure, when the Raptors send triple-teams his way, the assists numbers bump up and the points go down. But it’s rare to see him straight-up missing shots — especially when he’s getting to his spots.
All of these are isolations against opposing big men. These are shots DeRozan makes more often than not, and ones he needs to hit for the Bulls to have any chance of doing anything this season.
DeRozan heated up in the third quarter, and finished the game with 16 points.
It’s really tough to beat the Warriors. Even more so when your star player goes 4-for-15 from the field.
End of the first half back-breaker
Down just seven points, the Bulls had the ball with 38 second to go. With an opportunity to go into the half down two possessions, DeRozan polished off an 0-for-6 first half with a clank. LaVine picked up his fourth personal foul contesting a shot he clearly should have let go. The Bulls allow an offensive rebound on the ensuing free throw attempt, that led to a three.
That could have been the end. Down 11 heading into the half. When they didn’t bounce back to start the third quarter, it felt like it could have been over, so it was nice to see some fight in the fourth.
- Ayo Dosunmu responds: After shooting 13.3 percent on threes over his previous nine games, Dosunmu came in off the bench and immediately hit a three. He scored seven points in three minutes and finished with 9 on 4-for-4 shooting
- At the line: The Bulls were 16-for-24 at the free throw line. That’s just not good enough. Especially when DeRozan isn’t having a great shooting night and when those two things are supposed to be your bread-and-butter.
- Math: I don’t know if I have the energy or emotional capacity to go into detail about it after every single game, so I’ll just show the stats: Bulls were 9-for-27 on threes, Warriors were 20-for-50.
- Up next: Bulls head to Sacramento to finish out the six-game road trip.