Warriors 101, Bulls 90
Stephen Curry sat in on the coaches meeting Friday, studying, planning and preparing to do something few others have done this season: Stop Derrick Rose.
The game plan worked to near perfection.
Monta Ellis scored 33 points, Curry had 23 and the Golden State Warriors smothered Rose defensively to snap Chicago's six-game wining streak with a 101-90 victory over the Bulls on Saturday night.
''I thought our guys followed (the plan) to a T and kind of bottled him up a little bit,'' Warriors coach Keith Smart said. ''We couldn't let him get his game going early, and that's what he's been able to do against a lot of teams. He sets the tone for their team. We had to make other guys make plays.''
Instead, Ellis and Curry sparked a 15-0 run in the fourth quarter that sealed Golden State's third straight win in one of its more impressive defensive efforts of the season, swarming Rose and forcing the All-Star guard into a season-high nine turnovers.
The Warriors mixed up coverages and swapped defenders to give Rose looks he said he's never seen.
''I couldn't get a feel for the game because they didn't let me,'' Rose said. ''I couldn't get to the hole. It was hard but I'll figure it out. It's just something we have to look at on film and see who's the open guy.''
Carlos Boozer had 21 points and 10 rebounds and Rose finished with a quiet 14 points and 10 assists for the Bulls, who were playing only their second game of a critical road stretch. They were never in rhythm and fatigued early, dropping their first game in more than two weeks.
This was hardly the kind of effort a Chicago team looking to be considered one of the NBA's elite wanted to show.
Even not at their best, the Bulls took a 75-74 lead on Boozer's jumper with 10:54 remaining. Then it all came crashing down with a spotty defensive effort against one of the more prolific scoring teams.
The Warriors ran off 15 straight points behind Ellis and Curry, who had 13 points during the run. The undersized guards blew by Rose and Co., pulling away for an easy victory.
''I thought our turnovers put them into the open court and then in the fourth quarter we just played poorly,'' Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. ''That's it.''
Surely this one left the Bulls frustrated.
They have quietly stayed in the thick of the race for the Eastern Conference's top spot despite being short-handed for most of the season, with Boozer missing the first 15 games because of a broken bone in his right hand and Joakim Noah out until after the All-Star break recovering from thumb surgery.
They just never could stay consistent against Golden State.
Rose had his usual eye-popping plays, perhaps the best coming on a twisting layup over - and around - Warriors center Andris Biedrins that even brought Golden State fans to their feet. Kyle Korver followed with a pair of 3-pointers, and Chicago went ahead by 12 points in the second quarter.
All that was quickly erased with a technical foul by Boozer and an uncontested dunk that Ronnie Brewer short-armed and missed badly. Ellis rallied the Warriors with some stealth offense, slicing through the paint for layups and dunks to give Golden State a 48-47 halftime lead.
The Warriors stayed steady from there and finally showed some fight during their longest homestand of the season.
Golden State has only two games left in a stretch of 13 of 14 at home, and they're 7-5 so far. Chicago and Utah are their only victories during the stretch against teams with winning records.
''Definitely the biggest win,'' said Warriors forward Dorell Wright, who added 20 points. ''Just the level they're playing, the roll they're on, the way Derrick Rose is playing, this is definitely the biggest win by far this year.''
NOTES: Thibodeau said Noah is making progress in his recovery but is still likely a few weeks away from returning. ''He's doing well,'' Thibodeau said. ''He's coming along, right on schedule, doing more and more every day. He's making good, steady progress.'' ... Warriors backup SG Acie Law missed the game with a sprained right wrist. ... Rose's previous high in turnovers this season was seven, which he'd done twice.