CHICAGO -- There wasn't much mystery in the Golden State Warriors' 125-94 destruction of the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night. For much of the one-sided affair, it looked more like a scrimmage between the varsity and junior varsity at a local high school than it did an actual NBA game. As far as explanations go, Wednesday night offered a very simple one: The Bulls were just beaten by a better team.
"It's embarrassing," point guard Derrick Rose said. "[We] let go of the rope."
Rose actually had one of his best games of the season, scoring 29 points and attacking the basket aggressively from the outset, but the rest of the Bulls looked lifeless at times. Pau Gasol was held without a field goal for the only the third time in his career, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Jimmy Butler was just 1-for-7 from the field in the first half before turning up his game in the final 24 minutes. As a group, the Bulls were just 1-for-20 from beyond the arc. After it was over, both Rose and Butler acknowledged a refrain that been common within the Bulls locker room this season.
"We stopped communicating while we [were] out there," Rose said.
Butler concurred, reiterating the Bulls are so concerned with their offense that sometimes they forget the principles they need on the defensive end.
"When we're not guarding I don't think we're a very good team," Butler said.
The Warriors are more than a very good team -- they are a great team. They're fun to watch and they seem to enjoy playing with one another, which hasn't been the case for the Bulls throughout much of the season. Aside from Gasol's rare off night, the Bulls were struck by the same inconsistencies that have plagued them from the outset, particularly the fact that Tony Snell, Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic continue to struggle. The trio was a combined 2-for-19 from the field in 73 minutes.
Once again, the Bulls have been hit hard by injuries again this season. Joakim Noah is probably out for the season after shoulder surgery. Mike Dunleavy has yet to play a game because of offseason back surgery. Kirk Hinrich is currently out because of a quadriceps injury. Teams deal with such things, though. It's part of any NBA season. The real problem for the Bulls is that the three players who were supposed to develop even more under new coach Fred Hoiberg -- Snell, McDermott and Mirotic -- just haven't been very good.
Even if all three had played well Wednesday, the Bulls still probably wouldn't have beaten the Warriors because of the superior talent on the defending champs' roster. But the trio's inability to produce consistently has been the Achilles' heel for this group all season. In the short term, Hoiberg has to keep running them out there and hope they can turn it around. Each player has shown flashes of solid play this season, just not enough to warrant much hope for the future.
As the Bulls prepare for a tough back-to-back set on the road against Boston on Friday and then Cleveland on Saturday, one of Hoiberg's biggest concerns should be about Rose. Hoiberg acknowledged after the game that Rose asked to come out earlier than normal in the first quarter because he felt winded. Rose admitted he has to keep working on his timing after dealing with knee soreness and patellar tendinitis in the past few weeks.
"I got to work on my conditioning," Rose said. "It's nothing to do with just how I'm feeling, it's just wind, conditioning and I got to build it back up."
After a beatdown like the one the Bulls took Wednesday, conditioning isn't the thing they should worry about most -- it's confidence.