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3 takeaways as Warriors take care of Bulls, continue Chase Center dominance

© Kelley L Cox | 2022 Dec 2

Turnovers and questionable shot selection kept the Bulls in the game, but key defensive stops from Kevon Looney and Draymond Green closed out Chicago late and let the Warriors escape with a win.

With the Bulls inching closer, the Warriors attempted seven 3-pointers in eight trips down the floor. Only Green, of all players, connected. 

The Bulls got within four, but Golden State’s defense ramped up. Looney blocked a DeMar DeRozan midrange attempt. Green swatted an Alex Caruso 3. When the Warriors needed stops the most, they got them. 

With its 119-111 victory on the front end of a back-to-back, Golden State (12-11) is now 10-1 at home and has won nine straight in the Chase Center. Green, the fourth quarter hero, finished one rebound shy of a triple-double and Jordan Poole dropped a game-high 30 points.

Here are three takeaways from the Warriors’ tight win over Chicago. 

Jordan Poole, splashing 

Everybody in the Chase Center, especially Jordan Poole, knew the sixth man had it going on against the Bulls. 

Poole entered the game in the first quarter firing, hitting four of his first five shots — all 3-pointers. Except for one well-earned heat check, he played within himself, striking a balance between hunting his own shot and driving with his head up to create for others. 

In a patented Warriors third quarter blitz, Poole launched a 33-footer at the end of the shot clock over Ayo Dosunmu to put GSW up 16. 

It was his seventh 3 in 10 tries — a blistering hot shooting night that came after five games of 20% shooting (8-for-40). 

Poole finished with a game-high 30 points. It was his highest scoring total as a reserve this season, and one of his most efficient. He sank seven of his 13 triples, an attempt total that includes a halfcourt heave. 

But Poole also got called for a technical foul while he was on the bench during the fourth quarter, and the Warriors went with Klay Thompson over him to close the game despite Poole having a much better shooting night than Thompson (3-for-13 from 3). 

Still not defending without fouling.

Steve Kerr said those words, almost verbatim, in his prophetic pregame press conference. The Warriors, as it stands, still have not figured out how to defend without fouling. And it’s hurting them. 

“We’re still searching for the ability to defend without fouling,” Kerr said. “Teams are going to try to attack us. Chicago gets to the line a lot — I think they’re sixth or seventh in the league in free throw attempts. We want to keep them off the line.” 

The Warriors entered the Chicago matchup last in the NBA in personal fouls per game. That comes from youth, lineup unfamiliarity, tardy rotations, some flat-footed players and a general lack of what Kerr called “edge” and “urgency.” 

Chicago, especially star DeMar DeRozan, is adroit at drawing whistles. That contrast shaped up as a potential issue for Golden State pregame, and it presented as such right away.  

Not all of them were on the defensive end, but Golden State committed five fouls before Chicago hacked one. After the first quarter, the Warriors led by just two points. Chicago went 8-for-12 from the free throw line; GSW shot three from the stripe. 

When the Warriors got their fouling under control in the second quarter, the pace of the game tilted in their favor. It’s not like Chicago is a defensive juggernaut, but going against any backpedaling defense instead of a set one is an advantage. GSW expanded its lead to 11 heading into half. 

Curry, notably, wasn’t the problem. Even with two fouls of his own, he drew two charges. 

The fouls cooled down in the second half, but Chicago only hit 16 of its 24 foul shots. 

The travel bug bites again 

One of the stranger wrinkles of the NBA season thus far reared again Friday, with game play getting disrupted consistently by traveling violations. 

Steve Kerr and several players have repeatedly panned that all they want out of the officials is consistency — though Kerr joked on KNBR Thursday that plea is more of an oversimplified cliché. You can call for consistency until the calls are consistently bad. 

That’s not necessarily the case, though. All the travels referees have been calling have, in fact, been travels. It was no different Friday. 

In the first half alone, refs whistled six traveling violations. No All-Star was safe. DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine, and Stephen Curry each committed one, in addition to Ayo Dosunmu, Jordan Poole and Jonathan Kuminga. 

Players will be able to adjust to the point of emphasis. But it seems many are still feeling things out, sometimes moving a bit more hesitantly knowing more watchful eyes gaze upon their pivot feet.

Klay Thompson traveled in the fourth quarter on a drive inside when he tried to pivot away from the hoop for a kickout, leading to a Chicago bucket on the other end that cut GSW’s lead to single digits. That walk was Golden State’s 18th turnover — the only factor keeping the Bulls in the game. 

A minute later, with his Bulls down six, LaVine traveled again on the perimeter. 

Seemingly every rule change has made the modern game easier for offenses to score. Calling travels more often, even just a few times per game, might swing the pendulum a bit the other way, closer toward an equilibrium. 

It won’t come without some more stop-and-start action. 


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