© Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
OAKLAND – When the third-best offense in the league (Warriors, 116.7 points per game) plays the worst offense in the league (Chicago Bulls, 100.7 points per game), you can expect a lopsided affair. Still, when the game is decided in the first quarter, it’s always a bit jarring.
The Warriors put on a clinic against the Bulls, as Zach LaVine tried, to no avail, to bring the Bulls back into the game. Despite a 29-point performance from LaVine, the Warriors took home a 146-109 win to kick off the second half of the regular season.
Here are three observations from tonight’s game:
“No one man should have all that power”
At this point in his career, Stephen Curry has proven himself to be the greatest shooter of all time. He’s fundamentally changed the way that basketball is played in the NBA, and inherently, how teams are built. Switchability, shooting ability and length are all at the forefront at the minds of every NBA general manager, and it’s in large part due to Curry’s shooting off screens, and the problem he causes defensively.
As Chicago native Kanye West rapped on POWER, “No one man should have all that power.” Of course, Curry’s absurd shooting ability is self-made. He grinded from an unheralded high school prospect to an NBA superstar and it’s entirely deserved. Still, his touch is like a cheat code.
It’s been a matter of time before Curry reached the upper echelon of all-time 3-point scoring leaders. Curry entered tonight trailing Jason Terry (2,282) by just two 3-pointers, and in the second half, he passed Terry for third all-time on the 3-point makes list. The only two men ahead of Curry now are Ray Allen (2,973) and Reggie Miller (2,560). Curry has made at least 200 3-pointers in each of the last six seasons, and much more when he’s healthy.
Assuming Curry is healthy, he should pass Miller by next season, and potentially pass Allen in two or three seasons. Whereas it took Ray Allen 1,300 games and Reggie Miller 1,389 games to reach those heights, it’s taken Curry just 656 games. Here’s the shot that pushed him to third all-time:
NBA 3-point leaders (w/career games played):
1) R. Allen – 2,973 (1300)
2) R. Miller – 2,560 (1389)
3) S. Curry – 2,283 (655)
4) J. Terry – 2,282 (1410)
5) K. Korver – 2,278 (1140) pic.twitter.com/dXGqTVfM58
— Sam Hustis (@SamHustis) January 12, 2019
Rolling through the bottom-feeders of the East
The Warriors’ last two games have come against the Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks, two of the NBA’s four worst teams. The Knicks were beaten 122-95, which somehow pales in comparison to the wretched display that the Bulls put on tonight.
The last two games have looked like a high school varsity team facing off against the freshmen. The freshmen have zero business playing against the varsity team, but maybe the coaches hope they’ll take something from a beatdown by their seniors.
Will the Knicks and Bulls take anything from their embarrassing losses? Who knows. Maybe they’ll see the potential to build a great team and set out to work harder than they’ve ever worked before to ensure a similarly rough loss never happens again. But that’s the optimistic take. More likely, though, those teams will just feel terrible about the gap between the best team in the world and their own standing.
But once upon a time, the Warriors were “hopeless.” Before this era, as most Warriors fans know, the franchise was allergic to success. From the 1994-95 season to 2011-12, the Warriors made the playoffs once. That’s one time in 18 years. So maybe these young teams have little hope. But as the Warriors have demonstrated, that lingering hope is worth holding onto.
LaVine with a one man show
If you’ve ever played NBA 2K online, you’ve probably played a game in which one player, on the team that’s getting blown out, puts up a massive, but ultimately meaningless performance. That was Zach LaVine tonight. He had 24 first-half points on 9-of-12 shooting and finished with 29 points on 10-of-16 shooting and 3-of-5 from 3-point range.
The only other person on the Bulls who seemed to have any clue offensive was Bobby Portis, who finished with 16 points. Ryan Arcidiacano and Antonio Blakeney also scored some garbage-time points to become the only other Bulls players in double-digit scoring. Arcidiacono finished with 10, while Blakeney put up 12.