Curry’s 33 lead Warriors’ 49-point rout of Bulls
OAKLAND, Calif. — Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr felt so confident about his team’s prospects against the Chicago Bulls on Friday night that he turned his starting lineup into a bit of a punch line.
That said, the Bulls found nothing funny about Stephen Curry’s crowd-pleasing performance.
Curry poured in 26 of his game-high 33 points in a second-quarter flurry, propelling the Warriors to a 143-94 thrashing of the Bulls.
The 49-point margin of victory was the fourth largest in Warriors history, and the defeat was the third largest ever for the Bulls.
The Warriors eased to the win, their fifth without a loss after a defeat this season, despite Kevin Durant sitting out with a sprained ankle and Draymond Green on a scheduled night off.
“We kind of got back to who we are, moving without the ball,” Curry said of himself and backcourt mate Klay Thompson, who finished with 29 points. “It’s just a matter of having the confidence to knock down shots when they present themselves.”
Green is expected to play, but Durant remains doubtful when the Warriors conclude a rare consecutive-night home sequence Saturday against New Orleans.
Coming off a 2-2 trip that included an emotional 108-91 loss at Oklahoma City on Wednesday, Golden State led just 44-43 in the fifth minute of the second quarter before Curry exploded.
The former two-time Most Valuable Player had two layups, two 3-pointers and two free throws while contributing 12 points to a 14-0 Warriors run during a 3:24 stretch that opened a 58-43 advantage.
“You have those momentum plays where you start to open up the game,” Curry said of his burst. “You start to get a rhythm, and your shot feels good, and you’re getting some open ones ... that’s when the avalanche starts.”
The Warriors went on to lead by as many as 23 in the quarter as Curry completed the 21st 20-point quarter of his career and the seventh 30-point half. He left the court for the intermission with 31 points.
Curry single-handedly outscored the Bulls 26-21 in the second quarter.
“They go on a run and we’ve seen this before where we put our heads down. We don’t fight through it, and we start separating and lose trust in each other,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg observed. “That can’t continue to happen.”
The night began with Kerr, a former University of Arizona standout, poking fun at Oregon alum Jordan Bell, the Warriors’ top rookie this season.
Kerr joked that he planned to start Bell in Green’s spot because it meant a matchup with another former Arizona star, Bulls rookie Lauri Markkanen, who had contributed to the Wildcats’ 83-80 win over Bell and the Ducks in the Pacific-12 Tournament final in March.
“He needs a chance at redemption,” Kerr insisted with a grin.
Bell was outscored 14-7 by Markkanen, but he focused his effort on matching the Warriors’ franchise rookie record for blocked shots with six, although none was on his rival.
“They were all impressive,” Kerr said of the blocks. “He was explosive.”
A majority of Thompson’s 29 points came on a game-best five 3-pointers. Nick Young came off the bench to add 17 points in 19 minutes for the Warriors, whose 49-point margin of victory was 19 more than any previous win season.
Backup Jerian Grant had a team-high 21 points for the Bulls, who went winless on a four-game Western swing. Their 1-10 road record is the worst in the NBA.
“We got off to a pretty decent start,” Hoiberg noted. “And then they were physically tougher than us the last two and a half quarters.”
Four other Bulls scored in double figures, including Markkanen, whose 14 points resulted despite missing 12 of his 16 shots.
The Warriors outshot the Bulls 58.2 percent to 35.4 percent from the field en route to their highest point total of the season.
The Bulls have split the two-game season series with the Warriors in two of the past three seasons.
NOTES: The Warriors had a 50-point home win over Memphis in November 2015. Their all-time record is 62 points set in 1991 against Sacramento. ... The 49-point margin of defeat was the largest for the Bulls since a 51-pointer at Indiana in 2003. The franchise record is 53, set in November of 2001 at Minnesota. ... The Warriors held their 35th consecutive opponent below 50 percent shooting. The Bulls were 12 of 22 (54.5 percent) in the first quarter, but then just 12 of 51 (23.5 percent) in the second and third quarters. ... The Warriors outscored the Bulls 81-34 in the second and third quarters.