By Frank Sumrall
Special to S.F. Examiner
CHASE CENTER — Stephen Curry may not have full use of his broken left hand, but that didn’t stop the Golden State Warriors’ injures point guard from making his trademark hand goggles after forward Draymond Green sank his first 3-point attempt of the game.
After Golden State shot 29% from deep for most of the contest, Green’s fourth-quarter triple — following an Alec Burks falling-away three and a corner three from Glenn Robinson III — helped fuel a 13-3 run for struggling Golden State, securing what became a 104-90 win over the visiting Chicago Bulls.
Burks and Eric Paschall combined for 48 points as the Warriors fended off a Zach Lavine comeback effort just two days after blowing a double-digit lead against the Oklahoma City Thunder. After losing 10 of their last 11 games, without its top two scorers in Curry and Klay Thompson, Golden State showed encouraging glimpses of their future potential in a season where wins have been a rarity.
“I’m very proud of the guys, the last couple of days we worked on how to close a game out and what that means in terms of execution and they went out and did it,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said.
Golden State welcomed Green back after a three-game absence due to a nagging heel injury, a stretch where the Warriors had just eight healthy players. In his first game back, Green scored seven points, pulled down five rebounds and dished out eight assists in 24 minutes.
“Having Draymond back was a big deal. He settled us down,” Kerr said. “Having nine instead of eight, it matters. You just have more to work with and more options.”
Green’s return helped bolster what’s been the worst defense in the NBA, with a 115.2 efficiency rating. After the Bulls went up 9-1 early, hitting three of their first five shots, Chicago hit just three of its next 18 from the floor as Golden State went on a 29-8 run to end the first quarter.
Lavine kept pace with the Warriors throughout the second, scoring 18 of his game-high 36 points in the second frame, helping cut the lead to five at halftime, at 53-48, but while Lavine connected on half of his 16 attempts in the first half, the rest of the Bulls shot 29%.
Point guard Tomas Satoransky was the only other Bull to score in double figures, logging 19 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.
The Warriors outrebounded the BUlls 54-42, with Omari Spellman recording his fifth career double-double, scoring 13 points and pulling down 11 rebounds, including four on the offensive glass.
“Forget physically, this is the best I’ve felt as a person since college,” said Spellman, traded from the Hawks after his rookie season. “The Warriors organization has made it a really easy transition from a really bad place to being happy again.”
Paschall lead the team with 25 points on 9-of-17 shooting, bullying both Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter in the paint with multiple and-one buckets as he slashed across the paint. He tallied seven rebounds and three assists to go along with his scoring. It was his sixth 20-point performance, third amongst rookies.
Burks added 23 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.
Despite snapping a three-game losing streak, Kerr still snapped his clipboard in frustration, cutting his hand open in the process.
“I honestly did not see it, but I come back into the huddle and I see blood on the clipboard and I’m wondering what happened,” Paschall said. “A coach like that though, he cares, he wants to win and he’s been through it all.”
The Warriors travel to Miami next to take on the Heat (12-5) this Friday, kicking off a five-game, five-city road trip that will end with a rematch against the Bulls next Friday.
As he recovers from his torn ACL, Warriors guard Klay Thompson began auditioning for work once he hangs up the basketball shoes. Thompson partnered with NBC Sports Bay Area as a sideline correspondant during the second quarter, even conducting an interview with Spellman.
Marquese Chriss shot a perfect 5-for-5 from the floor for 11 points while tallying four steals.