CHICAGO — The Chicago Bulls have earned a reputation as one of the NBA’s best defensive teams. So watching Golden State guard Stephen Curry torch them for 34 points in a Feb. 6 game in Oakland, Calif., must have left a sour feeling.
In Wednesday night’s rematch at United Center, Curry tied a season low by scoring just five points and the Bulls rolled past the Warriors 103-83.
Most of the defensive credit belonged to Chicago guard Kirk Hinrich. The Bulls also welcomed back one of their best individual defenders in guard Jimmy Butler, who missed the previous two games with a bruised rib.
“I always say with Kirk, you can never measure his true value if you go by statistics,” Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau said. “If you go by what he’s doing for your team — setting the tone for the defense with his ball pressure, his hustle plays, running your team, the things he does — it really unites and inspires your team. And he plays to win.”
Forward Taj Gibson scored 21 points to lead the Bulls. Butler added 16 points, forward Carlos Boozer finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds, and center Joakim Noah piled up 17 rebounds, eight points and seven assists.
The Bulls improved to 19-8 since Jan. 1 by winning for the seventh time in eight games. Golden State (35-23) had a four-game winning streak snapped.
Chicago (31-26) is now a season-best five games over .500 and has won 11 of the past 12 meetings with the Warriors at United Center. The strange thing about this one was that Golden State was the rested team. The Bulls won in Atlanta on Tuesday night, while the Warriors had not played since Monday.
“It’s a disappointing loss,” Golden State coach Mark Jackson said. “They outworked us tonight … disappointing. We need to make sure we bounce back from this one. Bottom line is, individually and collectively, we didn’t have our best night.”
Chicago trailed 24-21 after one quarter, then shot 56.5 percent in the second and opened a 56-45 lead at halftime behind 11 second-quarter points from forward Mike Dunleavy.
In the third quarter, Golden State hit just 4 of 21 shots and scored 14 points, and the Bulls’ lead grew to 21. Boozer scored 11 of his 15 points in the third quarter. The margin never dropped below 18 points in the fourth quarter.
“Today was a big win for us,” Noah said. “A team with great offensive firepower, one of the best teams in the West. To come out there and kick their butt like that feels great. There’s no better feeling. I’m going to drive home really happy tonight.”
Guard Jordan Crawford led Golden State with 16 points, while forward David Lee and forward Harrison Barnes scored 11 points each. The Warriors shot 35.7 percent and were outrebounded 56-41.
Chicago made 44.6 percent of its shots.
“It was just one of those nights,” Lee said. “We got outplayed at all five positions, both the starters and the bench. Unfortunately, you have those nights in the NBA.”
NOTES: Longtime Bulls assistant coach Pete Myers, now a Golden State assistant, was assessed a technical foul in the third quarter for arguing a call. … Golden State F David Lee returned to the lineup after missing two games with the flu. Lee came off the bench, while F Jermaine O’Neal remained a starter. … Chicago F Jimmy Butler was back on the floor after missing two games with a bruised rib. … Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said G Derrick Rose is running on his own and doing some lateral slides now. Rose had surgery to repair torn cartilage in his right knee Nov. 25 and is expected to miss the rest of the season. … Current Warriors coach Mark Jackson was a player in New York and Houston while Thibodeau was an assistant on Jeff Van Gundy’s staff. “I called him ‘Deacon,’ because he was Jeff Van Gundy’s deacon. Jeff was he head pastor,” Jackson said. “You knew he was going to be a very good coach. He worked his tail off and was committed to his craft.” … This was the second stop of a six-game road trip for the Warriors.
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