Curry too much for Bulls to handle

February, 7, 2014
Feb 7
2:32
AM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
OAKLAND, Calif. -- As the media waited outside the Chicago Bulls' locker room for Tom Thibodeau to break down what went wrong during his team's 102-87 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night, former Bulls player and current Warriors assistant Brian Scalabrine came strolling by with a cup of food in his hands.

"What else is there to say?" Scalabrine asked the assembled media. "We made shots."

Scalabrine was right. In a game in which the Bulls had to control the pace to win, the Warriors knocked down a lot more buckets than Chicago could muster late. In the end, the difference was that the Warriors had Stephen Curry and the Bulls did not.

[+] EnlargeStephen Curry, Jimmy Butler
AP Photo/Marcio Jose SanchezStephen Curry heated up for 34 points against the Bulls, who themselves lack a game-changing scorer.
Curry dominated the Bulls to the tune of 34 points. More important, he showed Thibodeau and his team what playing with a pure scorer can do for the rest of a group. Curry's performance was yet another cold reminder of what the Bulls are missing without Derrick Rose -- a go-to scorer who can take over the game virtually whenever he wants to.

"He's a hell of a player," Bulls center Joakim Noah said. "I think we could have done a better job to blitz his picks and put two on the ball. But I think they played very well offensively."

Curry's shot worked throughout the night, but it was his nine assists that helped drive the dagger into a Bulls team that had a 16-point lead in the second quarter. When the Bulls collapsed too much pressure on Curry, he dished to teammates and opened up the floor even more. It had to be tough for Thibodeau to watch, because Curry did all the things that Rose used to do before his latest knee injury.

"A guy like that you can't guard individually," Thibodeau said. "You've got to guard him with your team. What you try to do is make him work for his points. He has the ability to make a tough shot when he's guarded well, and it's not just him."

Like Rose, Curry has the ability to make the players around him better. His shooting prowess opens up lanes about which the Bulls can only dream. Kirk Hinrich and D.J. Augustin played well for the most part against the Warriors, but neither player has the type of dynamic talent that Curry displays. He was a cut above every other player on the floor Thursday night, and it had to remind some of the Bulls what might have been if Rose had stayed healthy this season.

"A guy like that, it's so hard to slow him down," Bulls forward Taj Gibson said. "When he hit shots like that, especially on me, I was just smack-dab right in his face. It was just tough, and Thibs was looking at me like, 'Good D.' You have to live with it."

Nick Friedell | email

Chicago Bulls beat reporter
Nick Friedell is the Chicago Bulls beat reporter for ESPN Chicago. Friedell is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and joined ESPNChicago.com for its launch in April 2009.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Derrick Rose
PTS AST STL MIN
15.9 4.3 0.5 31.1
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Noah 11.3
AssistsJ. Noah 5.4
StealsJ. Butler 1.9
BlocksJ. Noah 1.5