CHICAGO — Steve Kerr and Co. dismissed their blowout loss to the Milwaukee Bucks as a flash in the pan, one game of 82, just a bad night. It took only 24 hours for those assessments to prove accurate. On Friday, it was the Bulls’ turn for a bad night.
Golden State got big contributions from rookie Jonathan Kuminga, Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole to make up for the absences of Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Gary Payton II to handily beat the Bulls, 138-96, the Warriors’ best offensive showing of the season.
“Right away we were locked in,” coach Steve Kerr said. “We kind of needed it after losing four of the last five and last night’s blowout.”
If the Warriors were humbled by the Bucks on Thursday — Kerr described the 39-point halftime deficit as humiliating — they dished out an equal dose to another team with playoff prospects the following night. Milwaukee may be the defending champions, but Chicago was the team on top of the Eastern Conference entering Friday.
The Warriors (31-11) improved to 8-4 against the top four teams from both conferences.
Their 138 points were a season-high. With 78 in the first half, the Warriors scored more than any other half this season (and outdid their previous night’s opponent by one). They took a 31-point lead into intermission and ended the game with their widest margin, 42 points. Unlike the previous night, the Bulls mounted no second-half comeback.
The two nights could not have been more different. (Even in a literal sense — Golden State became the second team in NBA history to lead by 30 at halftime a game after trailing by that many at the break.)
For the second straight night, the Warriors reserves got a chance to shine after halftime with the game already decided — only on the other side Friday.
Kuminga was flying all over the court, but his most common destination was the rim. The rookie turned in the performance of his young career, only missing two of his 12 shots and finishing with a game-high 25 points — and a few thunderous dunks.
He put an exclamation mark on it with an emphatic rejection at the rim late in the fourth quarter, one of three blocks for the über athletic 19-year-old.