Bulls hand Warriors their second straight defeat

CHICAGO • All season long, the Chicago Bulls have thrived against the National Basketball Association (NBA)'s elite while struggling to hold their own against the league's also-rans.

And while Jimmy Butler cannot explain what clicks against top-tier teams but not against others, he knows at some point that the Bulls need to find ways to string wins together if they are going to remain in contention for a play-off spot.

He scored 22 points, Bobby Portis added 17 points and 13 rebounds, and the Bulls recorded a 94-87 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Thursday.

The Warriors (50-11) absorbed back-to-back, regular-season losses for the first time in nearly two years, ending their NBA-record streak at 146 games.

The Bulls (31-30) had four scorers reach double figures in winning for the fifth time in six games.

Chicago had beaten the Eastern Conference-leading Cleveland Cavaliers last weekend, with the Cavs missing an injured LeBron James.

On Thursday night, they toppled the Warriors, who lost for the second straight game since Kevin Durant went down with a knee injury.

"I think when it's (against) the prime-time guys, everyone wants to show they can play," Butler said.

"I don't have a problem with that, but now, you treat everybody like a prime-time guy because that's what it is in this league.

"Everybody can play, so we have to show up every single night."

The Warriors were led by Stephen Curry's 23 points. Golden State hit a season low in points as well as field-goal percentage (38.6 per cent).

Coach Steve Kerr said the Warriors' shooting woes were only part of his team's problem.

"You are not always going to shoot well," Kerr said. "When that happens, the ball is gold. You have to value each possession. Our intensity and focus were not there."

The Warriors will be hoping that Matt Barnes can ease the loss of Durant. The 36-year-old journeyman forward, who is in his 14th NBA campaign, inked a deal on Thursday.

Barnes averaged 7.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists over 54 games this season with the Sacramento Kings before being released.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 04, 2017, with the headline 'Bulls hand Warriors their second straight defeat'. Print Edition | Subscribe