Golden State won their 12th straight game on Saturday night. No big deal, just the first time a Warriors team has done that in 69 seasons. It took three strong quarters in a 112-102 win in Chicago, against a Bulls team that seems more talented than some run-of-the-mill outfit from the Eastern Conference with a 12-8 record. The Warriors are 17-2, and their mark seems pretty darned accurate considering all the different ways they’re dispatching of all these teams — which means we may be looking at the best regular season Warriors team in franchise history, since they’ve never had a 60-win campaign.
Draymond Green made a case to become an honorary Splash Brother (or Cousin, anyway) by making 7-of-13 threes. All of them seemed to come at key times. Three No. 1 gave the Warriors their first three points more than three minutes into the game, when Chicago’s defense looked unlike anything the Warriors have faced throughout their winning streak. He nailed one in the third quarter — the quarter when the Bulls made their run — to give Golden State a 74-72 lead. Threes Nos. 6 and 7 kept Chicago at bay in the fourth quarter. He was the epitome of a dominant stretch four.
“That is kind of who he is. He’s just a winner,” Steve Kerr told reporters. “He’s given us a new dimension with his three-point shooting. The Bulls are an excellent defensive team. Everybody knows that. So when you can pick and pop with your four man, it just spreads the floor. I thought that was the difference, because they had us stifled a couple different times throughout the game. Every time he popped and hit a three, that kind of loosened the game a little bit, and we were able to find a little groove.”
On a night when Steph Curry and Klay Thompson combined to go 14-for-37 from the floor and 3-for-13 from behind the arc, Green’s stat line — seven rebounds, three assists, four steals, three blocks and a career high 31 points on 11-of-20 shooting — highlighted why these Warriors are a true threat to the Spurs-LeBron duopoly. If it isn’t one guy playing out of his mind, it’s another.
“I love this team. These guys just compete. I think they’ve figured out, too, that defensively we’re very good. So if we just take care of the ball and defend every night, we’ve got a chance to win,” said Kerr, whose team committed 11 turnovers while forcing 22 in their latest victory.
— Shooting numbers aren’t everything. Derrick Rose can’t guard Curry, which led to the Bulls putting Jimmy Butler on him during parts of the game. But mostly, Curry drew the attention of Joakim Noah, which left Green open for a lot of those threes. And Rose? He went 2-for-11 and looked very ordinary.
— Thompson missed 14 shots, including an ill-advised three less than 10 seconds into the shot clock with a minute left and a nine-point lead, which was followed by a turnover on a weirdly sloppy pass to Curry. Despite all that (and this is going to sound a little weird), Thompson played a great game! In other words, +25 wasn’t a fluke. There was a two-minute stretch in the second quarter when Thompson lobbed a tough three-quarter court pass to Green that led to a layup, made two shots (including a three), grabbed a defensive rebound and stole the ball from Pau Gasol. He led the Warriors in scoring in the first half. He blocked two shots. It almost seems right that his shot wasn’t on target more often than not; if Thompson had splashed at a higher rate, Green wouldn’t have gotten nearly as much attention for his night.
— Mo Speights scored nine points in the fourth quarter to make up for a second quarter where he and the rest of the second unit (plus a starter here and there) were no match for Taj Gibson and Aaron Brooks.
— We got a nice look at Kerr’s temper when the officials missed what should’ve been an easy basket interference call on Gibson. As a television viewer, I appreciate demonstrative technical fouls more than “magic word” technicals (when the coach or player says a rude word or phrase that offends an official enough to get the T). Kerr is so levelheaded and descriptive before and after games, but he’s good for a massive freakout from time to time.
— 28 fast break points at the United Center? Seems like a typo, but that’s what happened.
— The Warriors have been awful in Chicago for most of our lives, which makes this streak’s continued existence even more impressive. When Golden State’s six-point lead to start the second quarter turned into a six-point deficit three minutes later, no one would’ve complained if they played out the rest of the game the same way and lost by 12. But instead, Harrison Barnes nailed a three and the Warriors outscored Chicago 32-14 the rest of the quarter to give themselves a 12-point halftime cushion. And after giving up that lead in the third quarter, they scored 33 points while putting the clamps on in the fourth. Not a bad formula, one the Warriors have employed all season thus far.