Bulls vs Warriors 7pm on CSN [update Lee out]

Prior to the season starting, most people circled this game as a win on the Calendar.   Since that point the Warriors are off to a 6-2 start and look a heck of a lot better than the chucker Warrior teams of recent years.

They do their damage in the backcourt where both Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry are scoring over 20 points per game on over 50% shooting from the field.   I've always liked Monta Ellis (officially questionable but likely to play IMO), just not for the Bulls as his game aligns very similarly to Derrick Rose, he's scoring on 51.3% shooting which is scary good from two point range given he chucks up 3.6 three pointers a game at 24%. Curry has made a mockery of my predraft analysis where I doubted he had the athleticism to play in the NBA and is scoring 21.5 points a game with a TS% of 60%.

[UPDATE - David Lee out tonight - Left Elbow laceration after catching the tooth of a Knick player.   Lee joked that D'Antoni ordered players to bite him.  How do we know this is a joke?  If D'Antoni really wanted someone to bite Lee he'd have sent in Eddy Curry]
The Warriors do most of their damage offensively where they now score with efficiency as well as volume.   Their style is to push to score all game long as much as possible.   As such, they make several decisions in their style of play that the  Bulls must be cognizant of and brings us to the keys of the game:

1. If Joakim Noah must control the defensive glass

They ferociously attack the glass at the expense of getting back on defense.  They're one of the top offensive rebounding teams in the NBA, and they'll score a lot of second chance points on you if you can't control the defensive glass. 

You can try to leave everyone back to control the defensive glass, or you can try leak out your own guards against them to beat them at their own game.  Either approach has it's flaws.  I'm not a fan of being forced into the opponents style, but if you don't punish them for attacking the glass then you allow them to go on the offensive all game long which puts you in a tough spot.

2. Golden State leaves offensive rebounding opportunities open
Much like they attack the offensive glass, they are always looking to initiate the fast break which gives you a chance to rebound offensively against them, but if you fail, there's a good chance that they'll press an advantage in the early offense which they excel at scoring in.

Again, you are left with trying to play aggressively on offense and getting caught up in their game, or whether or not to play conservatively and get back on defense.

3: Don't run bad offense to exploit Curry on defense
I call this the anti-Ben Gordon rule.   As a Bulls fan, I saw teams like Cleveland try to punish the Bulls by isolating Delonte West for post ups on Ben Gordon.   They'd try the play three times in a row and score once which many Bulls fans would then bitch about how Gordon is short, not realizing that the opposing team just went away from LeBron James three possessions in a row to try Delonte West in the post.

Don't make try and turn Bogans or Brewer into isolation options while ignoring Derrick Rose in a hope to exploit Curry defensively.   If you can move Curry around with some switches and get an advantage do it.  If you can get some extra back door cuts with Brewer soaring over Curry's head then all the better. 

However, don't try and force bad offense to get a bad defender, it's not likely to work.

4: Keep up strong fundamentals

Golden State feasts on easy offense.   They gamble for turnovers, gamble on the offensive glass, and gamble on their own defensive glass.   Playing with strong fundamentals will force them to lose their bets.   The Bulls need to be careful with the ball and control the glass to limit GS early offense opportunities and easy baskets.

Final Thoughts
Both teams want to get out there and push the pace to get fast break and early offense opportunities.   The Warriors are more frenetic at doing this than the Bulls are and will gamble more frequently than we will.   While there's not a big gap in style between the two teams, the Bulls need to be careful not to get too caught up in Golden State's game.

The Warriors are also coming off of a back to back, and for a team that wants to roll out the ball and run all game, that could make them wear down in the fourth quarter, particularly if Monta Ellis is feeling any side effects from the back strain on Saturday, he could be kicked up today.  I'm presuming Ellis will play though he's officially listed as questionable for the game.  

I'm going to predict a Bulls win, because they've had a couple days off to focus on the opponent while the Warriors are coming off a back to back.   I like the Bulls when Tom Thibodeau has some extra time to prepare, however, the Warriors are no joke, so this would could swing either way.


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  • Overall I feel the bulls are the better team and should win this game with no problem or less the warriors goes off from the 3point line like the knicks did against us lol

  • If the bulls had paul millsap instead of boozer.....

  • In reply to ixonflex69:

    And if we had Kobe Bryant instead of Bogans ...

    What's your point? Boozer was a free agent, Millsap wasn't.

  • In reply to ixonflex69:

    Don't fall in love with a guy over a few games. I'd say the only thing better about him than Boozer is his age, but hey if he keeps this up I'll be proven wrong.

    Btw Golden State held Millsap to 12 points last week.

  • In reply to jgingeri:

    millsap has only missed 6 games in his career. Im fairly certain that he'll be mre productivbe than boozer from this season onwards

  • Tough game really, the Warriors are vastly improved with Ellis playing like he was in his one previous good year, Lee really solidifying their rebounding, and Wright bombing threes at an insane rate right now. Who knows whether they'll remain good all year but we've hit them during their good patch so sucks for us.

    I agree with your first point, the rebounding battle is the #1 key. This is a game we should win, they'll be pretty tired after almost giving the game back to the Knicks the night before and having to fight it out until the end.

  • Not to nitpick, but Delonte West was on a pace for a triple double the last time they tried that before he broke his wrist at the end of the first quarter...

  • In reply to bullshooter:

    But I agree with the overall sentiment, because when NO tried the same thing with Rasual Butler, it cost them the game. Delonte West is a bad example.

  • In reply to bullshooter:

    lol "Delonte West is a bad example" You can use that in virtually any context.

  • In reply to jgingeri:

    LMAO! yeah just copy & paste it

  • In reply to bullshooter:

    a LOT of guys are on their way to a triple touble halfway through the first quarter.

  • In reply to DanFrystak:


  • In reply to DanFrystak:


    Those are the two things the Bulls have to exploit tonight.

    The Warriors are 2nd in the NBA in PF's with 26 per game and they have injuries to Louis Amundson, Epke Udoh and Dan Gadzuric, which makes their interior defense even weaker.

    In other words, Derrick Rose and Luol Deng should have a field day driving to the basket, which could result in a lot of FREE-THROW ATTEMPTS or EASY BASKETS for those two guys, if they PLAY AGGRESSIVE.

    And call me crazy, but I even expect to see James Johnson have a nice game tonight.

    Tom Thibodeau would be smart to expand his bench and take advantage of the lack of depth and tired legs of the Golden State Warriors.

  • In reply to MrHappy:


    Rose got a lot of DUNKS, which just shows how WEAK the Warriors' defense is.

    They didn't even bother to foul him.

  • In reply to DanFrystak:


    The Warriors have 6 wins, but have done it against teams with a combined 8-15 record.

    NOTE: That's at the time they played each of those teams.

  • In reply to DanFrystak:

    Interesting post Doug.

    As for drafting Curry despite his barely exceptional rebounding totals in a mid major/lower quality conf., his steal totals of 2.0 and 2.6(soph and junior) were superb which so often are indicative of elite athleticism i.e Chris Paul. But I still had doubts as well. But as so often is the case guys who score at a prolific rate especially from the get go and on high field goal percentage(45%) and up are more likely to translate to the NBA. Plus his three point attempts were ultra high volume on excellent percentages so there you go.

    Anyway despite Derrick currently shooting .437 due simply to a couple of clunker games shooting wise he's certainly due to have a monster game. I wonder if G.S. will use an extended double on Rose as Boston did? Probably not. But he showed agressiveness splitting those doubles/blasting right through the middle in previous games which was great to see, and he needs to go back to doing that.

    I do think D had a very good game defensively against Denver, but then again Billups did not look very agressive in that one.

    One thing checking stats despite Rose and and Deng shooting in the .430's(though Deng's 3 point shooting at .435 has obviously been excellent), Bogans is at barely 40% and .267 on threes. While Ronnie Brewer has the same ppg 4.5 on .455 due largely to his scoring at the rim. Realizing Bogans has had a couple of good games lately.

    So I guess James Johnson is dead and buried now as Brewer emerges and Bogans looks the solid veteran often enough. IF J.J. does get any more serious looks, I tell him you go to the mid lane or post and go to work or drive and get to the line, but if you float to the perimeter/three point line you don't play/you're getting yanked. But I would give him some minutes especially if the Bulls can have Derrick go off and get a solid lead and maintian it.

    One other thing: David Lee. I don't know about his entire scoring history against Chicago, but in several games he has burned the Bulls. Either Taj, Joakim, or both are going to have to defend his mid range and post forays tenaciously, and box him out on defensive boards(he's what been third or fourth in the league at 11 a game last I checked).

    This could be a game where the competitive juices flow for Rose(and Brewer) playing the much hyped(and rightly so currently) Monta Ellis/Curry formidable offensive guard tandem. It will be interesting to see if the Bulls two intended starting guards will shine. Along With watson against his former team.

    After struggling with a low team offensive field goal percentage in the last game, I'm hoping Derrick and the rest of the guys cn go off(and move the ball). Personally, I think this is a game Derrick(and his team) should hopefully dominate especially well rested and G.S. on a busy road trip with back to backs.

  • In reply to DanFrystak:

    I know the 'dominate' feeling against a team with G.S.'s record will be questioned especially pre-Boozer, but with D-Rose due to go off that's just my feeling the rest of the guys(Taj, Jo, etc.) will respond in kind.

  • In reply to bullshooter:

    Love the point you make about not forcing bad offense. Coaches tend to make this mistake because they feel they must exploit every weakness, and while doing so can be the difference between a W and L, the attack plan has to fit within your team's mold.

    Quick note. I've seen multiple instances over the years where a kid is deadly hot, Monte Ellis in this case, and takes a fall or is slightly injured but not enough to sit. In many of these cases the kid will cool off, sure Ellis will probably play, but the kind of aches and soreness you get from a fall like that can really throw off your shooting mojo. For all you golfers out there, its similar to playing golf while your body is sore, your swing is just harder to keep consistent.

    Curry worries me though, the kid is a flat out baller, honestly I'd take him at SG for us. A lot of people don't realize how good this kid is, have that many people forgotten how he single-handedly took Davidson to the elite 8? Curry reminds me a lot of Kevin Durant because of how he dominated the college game yet was given little respect when talked about as an NBA prospect. Too much is made of "raw potential" ie James Johnson, Tyrus Thomas, Eddy Curry; I'll take a flat out great basketball player over potential any day, and the Bulls would be a lot better off right now if Paxon felt the same way.(Although he is getting better, ie Noah, Taj)

  • In reply to jgingeri:

    For years Paxson was getting nailed for taking the safe pick, the great college player. Thomas was the first player to break that mold, & if fans & the media weren't constantly harping on him to take a high upside guy, he probably would have gone Brandon Roy. Curry wasn't his pick, & JJ was the 16th pick in a draft in which he stole Taj @ 26.
    If you can criticize Pax for anything, it would be not drafting great scorers with size, but still, everyone wants those.

  • In reply to jgingeri:

    What worries me in this game is the large amount of turnovers with the Bulls. GS is one team which can put a lot of points if the Bulls lose in the turnover ratio.

  • In reply to jgingeri:

    This game really worries me. The Bulls have struggled when teams play the passing lanes, & Ellis & Curry are 2 of the best at stealing passes. The Warriors get offensive boards which at times has really hurt the Bulls.
    I think this game comes down to who can shoot better. In the 4th quarter, we should have the edge, as GS's legs could tire coming off that back-to-back

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Yes - the Bulls have struggled when they play teams jumping the passing lanes. Hopefully Thibs being the extreme student of the game that he is knows this and plans on attacking the rim with "pump fakes." I think this is the perfect game for wing players. PG should be aware of GS aggresiveness, fake the pass, and the wing will cut to the basket off of a back-screen. This play should be there all night.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    I cant believe all the hesitance I hear about playing GS. I understand they are a much improved team and are on a bit of a streak right now, but c'mon! If we are planning on being a 3rd, 4th, or even 5th seed this year we have to beat teams that are playing good or bad. Thats just the fact of it all.

    If the Bulls play as well as their talent should allow them - this will be a win! They must win and better play like it.

  • In reply to ChiRy:


    David Lee won't play tonight for the Warriors.


    That makes their front-line even thinner, because Amundson and Udoh are also out.

    Not sure about Gadzuric.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Wow they're just giving us the ball and saying please score fast break points.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Can't believe how bad the Warriors have been, I guess I should have know after watching them blow the lead against the Knicks that they would be this tired.

  • In reply to jgingeri:

    For some reason I think CJ Watson is gonna have a monster game tonight cause you guys know how some players have that extra chip on their shoulder when they play their former teams.

  • Doug, I realize you work for DraftExpress/do some prospect analysis for a living, but if you look at most successful/contending/championship teams they have what four or more guys who have FG% of 45% and up, and had 45% or above field goal percentages in college. I don't know how many quality scorers of 45% and up and championship rosters I have looked at collegiately who have correspondingly 45% or higher FG % in college.

    Also, many bigs who play a second season so often their rebound totals per minutes played mirror what they put up in the NBA. I don't have the time right now, but soon I'll post the many, many 45% and up guys who fill contending and championship rosters and the at min one or two years college at 45% or above. Of course bigs the standard is different for me is 50% and up, but I claim no expertise with the rare commodity of bigs(PF/C's) as opposed to SF and guard position totals. I don't know how many guys who shoot 42 or 43 percent who shoot the same darn numbers in the NBA. Of course there are exceptions, but I will post what I'm referring to when I get the chance. Draft prospects are my hobby, and I will post what I have studied, and I'm not saying you are not the better appraiser since you do work for DraftExpress etc., but I know what I have studied and will post what I'm referring to when I can.

  • He's out now, and I like the Gibson/Deng front court for games like this.

  • That lob to Brewer would have been perfect if he was suspended from the roof of the United Center ...

  • Not sure how much the Bulls are killing it and how much Golden State are just killing themselves. 11 turnovers for 21 points is just ugly, but props to the Bulls for taking advantage like that.

  • I agree, but some of the half court defense from the Warriors has been disgraceful too. I think the Bulls are playing well, I just don't think they're playing particularly better than they have in other games despite the much better results.

  • This game is a Schedule Loss. GS on the road playing 4th game in 5 nights, while Bulls had 4 of the previous 5 nights off. So unfair, that's the NBA.

  • Bulls up 35 points, 2:30 left in the 3rd quarter, and Luol Deng has played the entire game except 1 single minute. I don't understand that.

  • I'm surprised more teams don't go zone against us.

  • It must suck to be a sports caster when the result is beyond doubt and you have to fill in air time though, I'm pretty sure guys are told to make it sound still exciting and not say "yeah, the Bulls should just dribble out the clock every possession and wear them down".

  • Bulls up 32, 7:25 left in the 4th quarter, and Deng finally gets a rest. He played 39:35 out of 40:35 - only 1 minute rest. Are we trying to injure Deng again?

  • I could watch Korver shoot open jump shots all day.

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    Keith Bogans with his 6 steals tonight is a career high. In 7 games the Bulls have had 7 players hit career highs (not counting rookies). Is Thibs getting the most out of his guys or what?


    Why can't James Johnson get good minutes in a 30 point BLOWOUT?

    Is he in the doghouse? He needs to be in the D-LEAGUE getting some run.

  • Yes, and I believe the Lakers have the fewest back-to-backs with 14. Like they need the help...

  • Hi I enjoy following your blog from time to time! Glad that you're doing well...Samara

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