"I do know we have pride," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "We've taken a hit. We've lost some guys along the way. Our guys will battle. We know that we're short-handed. But if we have the right intensity and we do it collectively, we have a chance. And we've shown it throughout the year."
Maybe this week more than any other.
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Two nights after a 121-79 shellacking at Sacramento that renewed calls for Derrick Rose's return, the Bulls outscored the Warriors 38-17 in the third quarter en route to snapping a season-high, five-game road losing streak. They led by 36 points early in the fourth quarter before both sides cleared the benches.
Nate Robinson added 20 points and seven assists, while Joakim Noah finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds for Chicago, which had lost four of five overall. The Bulls outshot the Warriors 52 to 45 percent and won the rebounding battle 43-34, though the final box score hardly showed how much of a blowout the game really was.
The Bulls had spent the past two days trying to regroup after being routed by one of the Western Conference's worst teams. The team held a meeting to re-emphasize what had made them such a tough out in recent years: pride and effort.
"The great thing about it is we kept it up for virtually the whole game," Boozer said. "It was fun to watch us play like that."
Jarrett Jack scored 20 points and David Lee had 15 points and eight rebounds for the Warriors, who missed their first 11 shots from 3-point range before making their last three. Golden State ended its longest homestand 4-3.
"Loose balls, rebounds, screens, moving without the basketball -- any way you want to measure playing with force, we failed," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said.
Chicago again played without Rose, the NBA's MVP of the 2010-11 season who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee last April and whose possible return has fueled fodder in recent weeks. Kirk Hinrich (right foot), Taj Gibson (left knee) and Richard Hamilton (lower back) also remain out with injuries.
Both teams played with relatively small lineups -- with the exception of Noah and Warriors center Andrew Bogut -- and spread the floor, creating space all over the perimeter. Noah and Boozer gave Bogut and Lee fits with their interior passing, rampant rebounding and overall energy to outwork the Warriors throughout.
The Bulls blitzed the Warriors at the end of the first half and at the start of the second.
After Lee's dunk tied the score at 44, Chicago went on a 20-2 run that showed the kind of heart and hustle that has defined the Thibodeau Era: Boozer dove on the floor to squirt the ball away from Jack, and Jimmy Butler converted a difficult layup over Lee on the other end to start a three-point play.
"One of the best hustle plays all season," Robinson said.
Marco Belinelli opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer, and then Robinson -- who played 51 games for the Warriors last season -- intercepted a pass from Harrison Barnes for an easy layup. Deng stole another pass from Klay Thompson, and Robinson capped the spurt by tipping in Deng's miss.
Headed for a possible playoff berth for only the second time since 1994, Golden State came up short in front of a 23rd straight sellout crowd announced at 19,596. Even Stephen Curry tried to dunk on an open fast break late in the second quarter, though at least Barnes swooped in to slam the miss.
"This was an embarrassing performance by us, point blank," said Curry, held to eight points and four assists on 2-for-13 shooting.
The rest of the game turned into a series of Chicago highlights, including a put-back slam and a slash to the rim for another dunk by Boozer -- both on slow rotations by third-string center Andris Biedrins, who later just grazed the bottom of the net on a free throw.
Warriors owner Joe Lacob sat in in his courtside seat looking miserable. At the end of the third quarter, he rested his chin on his fist and just stared at the scoreboard: Bulls 94, Warriors 63.
Co-owner Peter Guber moved four seats over to chat with Lacob during the break. A large chunk of Warriors' fans filed out of the arena, and some even booed.
"It's embarrassing to us, to the organization, to the coaching staff, to the fans," Jackson said.
Rose went through pregame warm-ups as he has for the past couple of weeks. Asked again how Rose is progressing, Thibodeau remained vague. "He's fine. He keeps getting better," Thibodeau said. ... The Warriors wore their short-sleeve jerseys with pinstripe shorts for the third and final time this season.
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03/18 DEN 8:00pm 03/21 POR 8:00pm 03/23 IND 8:00pm 03/24 @MIN 7:00pm 03/27 MIA 8:00pm