CHICAGO – The Chicago Bulls are showing they can score points as well as limit them. And when they do both, they can make beating even a good team look easy.
Taj Gibson scored 21 points, Carlos Boozer added 15 points and 13 rebounds, and the Bulls used a big third-quarter run to win for the seventh time in eight games, pounding the Golden State Warriors, 103-83, Wednesday night.
Jimmy Butler scored 16 points after missing two games with bruised ribs, Mike Dunleavy Jr. added 15, and Joakim Noah grabbed 17 rebounds for the Bulls.
The Bulls dominated on the glass 56-41, forced 16 turnovers and held All-Star Stephen Curry in check while bringing Golden State’s four-game win streak to an emphatic end.
“I thought we were playing well before the break, and as a group, we talked about continuing to keep it going after the break,” Boozer said. “Now’s the time to step on the gas pedal and really get ready for the playoffs.”
The Bulls hit the 100-point mark for the third time in four games and shut down a high-scoring team in the process.
Jordan Crawford scored 16 points, but it was a rough night for the Warriors even though David Lee returned to the rotation.
He came off the bench to score 11 points in 20 minutes after being hospitalized with a stomach flu and missing two games.
“Timing was a little off,” Lee said. “I was definitely more winded quicker than I would have been. Twenty minutes felt like about 55 minutes tonight on the court, but that usually is going to happen the first game back. I’m glad I got that under my belt and I’m ready for the next one.”
Curry, meanwhile, tied a season low with five points on 2-of-10 shooting with Kirk Hinrich guarding him and the Warriors never found a rhythm.
“He always seems to keep a hand on you and never really gives a beat when his help isn’t there,” Curry said. “He’s very consistent at funneling you where they want you to go. Tonight it was even difficult to get him off-balance and going the opposite way. They made adjustments from the first game (a home win over the Bulls on Feb. 6), and we were just a step slow on making our adjustments in the game. They just outplayed us from start to finish.”
The Warriors trailed by 11 at the half and were within eight in the third quarter when things got out of hand.
Dunleavy blocked Andre Iguodala’s layup with 7:33 left to send the Bulls were on their way. Hinrich converted a three-point play, igniting a 14-2 run that sealed this one for the Bulls.
Butler stole a pass by Lee, leading to a layup for Boozer, and scored on a putback that made it 66-51 with 5:52 remaining. After Dunleavy hit a free throw, Boozer capped the run with three straight baskets – a 15-footer, a short jumper and a 13-foot bank shot – that bumped the Bulls’ lead to 73-53 with 3:20 to go in the quarter.
Afterward, Hinrich’s defense against one of the league’s top scorers drew heavy praise. Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau acknowledged Curry missed a few shots he normally makes but was quick to praise his veteran guard.
“You never can measure his true value if you go by statistics,” Thibodeau said. “If you go by what he is doing for your team, setting the tone for the defense with his ball pressure, his hustle plays, first to the floor, running your team — the things he does, it really ignites and inspires your team. And he plays to win. I think that it’s never lost on his teammates, and it’s certainly not lost on the coaches or the organization.”
Notes: Bulls star Derrick Rose has started running as he tries to work his way back from another season-ending knee injury, although Thibodeau said a return to practice remains a long way off. “Nowhere close to practicing,” he said. “He’s doing some running. He’s off the treadmill. Still on it at some times, but his full weight now, and doing lateral slides and things like that. Nowhere near practicing or anything like that.” He also reiterated that Rose will not return this season. ... Warriors coach Mark Jackson praised Thibodeau, who was an assistant to Jeff Van Gundy when Jackson played for the New York Knicks. “He was a guy you knew was going to be a very good coach,” Jackson said. “Worked his tail off and was committed to his craft. I’m very happy for him.”