Friday night’s matchup against the lowly Chicago Bulls, however, did not come with that same safety blanket as Kevin Durant (ankle) and Draymond Green (rest) were each listed as inactive for the game.
Ready and willing to take on the bulk of the scoring duties, Curry and Thompson rose to the occasion putting on a show for the Oracle crowd. The pair unloaded on the Bulls (3-14) to the tune of a combined 62 points — including a 26-point second quarter for Curry — achieving their highest combined total so far this season, resulting was a 143-94 route in favor of the Warriors (14-5).
For Curry, the night did not get off to an ideal start. Picking up two early fouls, the two-time MVP was sidelined for the majority of the first quarter.
Said Curry regarding his foul troubles:
“It’s all about being mindful. On the first one, I tried to make a reaction play on a guy cutting to the basket. And then after you get the first one, you just have to be mindful. Crazy thing is, I forget who called the foul, but he looked at it at halftime and said he missed it.”
In his absence the Warriors got off to a slow start, allowing the Bulls to take a three-point lead into the second quarter.
Able to start the second quarter after nearly seven minutes of rest in the first, it was Curry’s time to take the reigns of his team and seize the game’s tempo and flow.
The offense, stagnant without his presence, became fluid once more as Curry gave Warriors fans a flashback to vintage Steph, hitting circus shots for three-point plays and knocking down triples seemingly at will.
Twenty-six points would be his total for the mesmerizing quarter adding up to a 31 points on 9-of-13 from the field as the buzzer sounded to end the half.
Curry reflected on his brilliance in the quarter after the game:
“I didn’t (know it was coming) until the second three I hit in transition. … You have those kind of momentum plays where you start to open up the game. And them from there, just staying aggressive.”
As Curry dazzled in the second, his fellow Splash Brother had plans to explode in the third as he too would take out his frustrations on a reeling Bulls team.
With Chicago on its heels attempting the impossible task of keeping up with the Warriors pace, Thompson found room to put up a double-digit quarter of his own, dropping in 15 of his 29 points in the third alone.
Thompson, who is no stranger to monster quarters, finished the third shooting 6-of-8 from the field including 3-of-5 from the three-point line to match Curry’s heroics in the previous quarter.
Leading by 44 heading into the fourth, Thompson and Curry were both rewarded with ice packs and warm-up gear for the entirety of the fourth quarter as the Warriors reserves maintained the outrageous lead to end the Bulls misery.
For the Warriors, Curry and Thompson’s white-hot night will help heal the wounds accumulated from a subpar road trip — by the Warriors definition— where they went 2-2, including a 108-91 blowout in Oklahoma City.
Chipping in on the lopsided victory, Zaza Pachulia posted a season-high 11 points. Rookie Jordan Bell, making his first NBA start in the place of Green, did his best Draymond impersonation scoring seven on an efficient 3-of-4 shooting night and adding six rebounds, four assists, two steals and stealing the show defensively with six blocks.
The Bulls were paced by 21 bench points from Jerian Grant. Even with Grant’s explosion, and the limited need created by Curry and Thompson, the Warriors bench outscored that of the opposition 57 to 49, led by 17 from Nick Young. That exemplary bench play allowed Golden State to not only maintain a lead but expand it in the fourth without its entire four-part contingent of All-Stars.
Head coach Steve Kerr had glowing remarks about his team’s depth allowing him to sit players without hesitation:
“We feel comfortable resting anybody. We’re in it for the long haul and if Steph and Klay need to rest, we’ll give them the rest. We’ve got a deep roster and we play everybody and everybody’s got to stay ready.”