CHICAGO — Stephen Curry glanced at the “72” banner hanging from the rafters during the morning shootaround. A number that for two decades seemed unattainable just might be in reach for the Warriors if they keep playing this way.
Curry scored 25 points, and the Warriors made it look easy again, beating the Chicago Bulls 125-94 on Wednesday night.
Curry tied a season high with 11 of his team’s 38 assists and grabbed seven rebounds.
Klay Thompson added 20 points. Harrison Barnes scored 19, and the defending champions simply outclassed Chicago after embarrassing LeBron James and the Cavaliers in Cleveland on Monday night.
That’s two straight dominant wins over two of the Eastern Conference’s top teams after losing at Detroit and dropping two of three.
“Good teams bounce back quick and we were able to do that,” Curry said. “It says a lot about our resiliency.”
The Warriors are more than just a good team. They’re a team that set a league record with a 24-0 start. And they’re a team that could challenge the single-season mark of 72 wins set by the 1995-96 Bulls.
“I feel like we kind of have that chip back on our shoulders,” Draymond Green said. “It kind of fell off a little bit.”
The Warriors built a big lead in the first quarter and never were threatened after that, improving their league-best road record to 20-4.
Derrick Rose scored 29 and Jimmy Butler added 23 points after a slow start for Chicago. Pau Gasol was a nonfactor with one point and the Bulls missed 19 of 20 3-pointers on the way to their fifth loss in seven games.
“It’s embarrassing,” Rose said. “We stopped communicating while we were out there. You could easily tell there was no communication on both sides of the ball. The only thing we can do from it is learn.”
Two nights after they pounded Cleveland in the arena where they captured the championship last spring, the Warriors wasted little time seizing control in this one.
Playing in the shadows of that “72” banner, they continued their assault on the mark.
The Warriors were trailing by one midway through the first quarter when a cutting Curry converted a three-point play. Rose, who committed the foul, got subbed out after a strong start. And in a flash, the Warriors broke this one open.
They were up 34-18 going into the second and led by as many as 21 before heading to the locker room with a 63-44 cushion.
Curry had 15 points and seven assists in the half. Barnes scored 11 and the Warriors simply put on a clinic in ball movement that led to 30 points in the paint.
Rose scored 21 for Chicago, but the rest of the team combined for just 23 points in the half. The numbers barely describe how one-sided this was.
There were comical moments like when Chicago’s E’Twaun Moore crashed to the floor in the first quarter trying to defend a crossover by Curry, who buried a 19-foot jumper. There was a neat pass from Shaun Livingston to Leandro Barbosa for a reverse layup that made it 41-20 early in the second. There was also a somewhat scary moment when the Bulls’ Aaron Brooks tripped Rose, sending him into Curry as they raced out to defend a 3-point attempt from the corner with 4:28 left in the half.
The Bulls held a moment of silence before the game for longtime NBA and college coach John Bach, who died this week at age 91.
The funeral was Wednesday, and Hoiberg and his staff attended as well as Warriors coach Steve Kerr and assistant Ron Adams.
Bach’s defensive expertise as an assistant to Phil Jackson helped the Bulls win three NBA titles from 1991 to 1993. He was the head coach of the Warriors from 1983-86 before joining the Bulls as an assistant.
The Warriors received potentially good news in Chicago: Steve Kerr, who hasn’t coached all season while continuing to battle headaches related to two offseason back surgeries, felt well enough Tuesday night to appear in an improv routine.
Interim coach Luke Walton was with Kerr at the famed comedy club, The Second City, when he was summoned to the stage by cast members. Kerr remains a sports hero in Chicago after helping the Bulls win three championships in the 1990s.
“During one of the intermissions, they asked if he’d be willing to come up on stage and take part in it,” Walton told reporters. “He was good up there, too, showing some of his wit and being as engaged as he was.”
Was it a sign that Kerr might be ready to return to the sideline? “We obviously don’t try to read into anything. Whenever he’s ready, he’s ready, but that’s a good sign,” Walton said.chicago bullsGolden State WarriorsHarrison BarnesKlay ThompsonNBAStephen CurrySteve Kerr