The Bulls home dominance over the Golden State Warriors continued as they won convincingly 103-83.
Taj Gibson scored a game-high 21 points and the Bulls (31-26) outplayed their opponent in every faucet to win their seventh game in the last eight outings. The Bulls outrebounded the Warriors 56-41, shot 24-for-30 from the free throw line and held Golden State to 35.7 percent shooting.
The Warriors have now lost 10 out of their last 11 in the United Center and it was only the seventh time this season that they’ve failed to reach 90 points. No starter for Golden State was able to crack double-figures in scoring.
“I think it was a good mentality from the start of the game,” said Joakim Noah, who finished with 17 rebounds and seven assists. “Having Jimmy (Butler) back definitely helped. Taj, from the beginning of the game, before the game even started, I could tell he wanted to get into the game real bad. It felt good to see everyone playing with that intensity.”
Butler returned after a two-game absence and provided 16 points and three blocked shots. Carlos Boozer added 15 points and 13 rebounds and Mike Dunleavy chipped in with 15 of his own.
While there was no shortage of intensity for the Bulls, Kirk Hinrich definitely helped set the tone with making sure Warriors All-Star Stephen Curry never got into any semblance of an offensive rhythm. Denying him the ball, face-guarding him, chasing him off of screens; Hinrich was a big reason for Curry missing eight of his 10 shots as he finished with a season low five points and five assists in 28 minutes of play.
“He is such a tough cover,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “If you give him any space at all, he’s got the tricks to get a shot off. Kirk gives you toughness all the time. You can never measure his true value by statistics. If you go by what he is doing for our team, the things he does it really ignites and inspires our team. He plays to win. We know how important he is.”
The Bulls took control over the game in the second period after leading 24-21 after one.
They scored 35 points in the second on 57 percent shooting and forced Golden State into seven turnovers that they converted into 11 points. They clamped down on the Warriors in the third, holding them to 19 percent shooting and led 80-56 heading into the fourth.
“We’re a confident group and today was a big win for us,” Noah said. “Playing against a team with great offensive firepower, definitely one of the best teams in the West; to come out there and kick their ass like that, it feels great. There’s no better feeling. I’m going to drive home really happy tonight.”