The Golden State Warriors were in a rut and in need of a breather. They sure got one.
Andrew Wiggins scored 21 points, Stephen Curry added 19 and the Warriors rolled to their most lopsided win of the season, dominating the Chicago Bulls 138-96 on Friday night.
Rookie Jonathan Kuminga finished with 25 points and Jordan Poole scored 22.
The Warriors broke out of their slump in a huge way, pulling away early after dropping four of five. It was just the sort of easy win they were seeking coming off a lopsided loss at defending champion Milwaukee the previous night.
“We came out pretty determined,” Coach Steve Kerr said. “Obviously, they were behind the 8-ball almost immediately when Zach (LaVine) got injured.”
Golden State Warriors guard Jordan Poole, left, drives against Chicago Bulls guard Ayo Dosunmu during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Chicago, Friday, Jan. 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
The Bulls lost LaVine to a left knee injury in the opening minutes. They got booed off the court trailing 78-47 at halftime and wound up with their worst loss this season.
Wiggins scored 20 in the first half and shot 8 of 11 in the game while making three 3-pointers. Curry shook off a slow start in a total turnaround for the Warriors after they trailed 77-38 at halftime in Milwaukee on Thursday.
Poole nailed five 3-pointers, and the Warriors made it look easy even though they were missing Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.
“If you’re a good team, good things usually happen and you can usually bounce back,” Curry said. “I just like the way we responded.”
Nikola Vucevic had 19 points and 14 rebounds for Chicago. Coby White added 20 points, and DeMar DeRozan scored 17.
But the Bulls lost for the third time in four games after winning nine straight to match their best streak since the end of the 2010-11 regular season.
Things took an alarming turn for them when LaVine — who tore the ACL in his left knee playing for Minnesota in February 2017 — was hurt in the opening minutes.
Coach Billy Donovan said he thinks LaVine felt some discomfort going for an offensive rebound and tried to play through it. LaVine walked gingerly toward the locker room with 8:28 left in the first quarter. He never went to the ground.
The All-Star and Olympic gold medal winner was scheduled to have an MRI on Saturday. Donovan said LaVine was not traveling with the team to Boston for Saturday’s game. The Bulls visit Memphis on Monday before hosting Cleveland two days later.
“The MRI will tell a lot more once he gets that done,” Donovan said. “I don’t want to sit there and speculate that they’ve got more concern or not.”
Things didn’t get any better for Chicago after LaVine exited the game. The Bulls took another lopsided loss after getting blown out by Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets two nights earlier.
The Warriors led 37-28 through the first quarter despite just two points from Curry, then outscored Chicago 41-19 in the second. The 78 points were the most in a half for Golden State this season and the most allowed by the Bulls.
Curry scored the first six points in an 11-0 run that Wiggins finished with a driving bank shot, making it 54-33 with about 7 minutes left in the half.
Warriors: The Warriors rested Thompson as planned after he played 20 minutes at Milwaukee in his third game back. They plan to “bump him up a little bit” when they visit Minnesota on Sunday, Kerr said. The five-time All-Star missed 2 1/2 years because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament and an Achilles tendon injury. … Kerr is “hopeful” Green (left calf tightness) returns Tuesday when the Warriors host Detroit. Green missed his third consecutive game and Kerr said it makes more sense to have him continue rehabbing in the Bay Area rather than join the team at Minnesota.
Bulls: G Alex Caruso was not planning to travel with the team to Boston and Memphis. He missed his 11th game in a row, the past five because of COVID-19 after being sidelined with a sprained left foot. … The Bulls signed F Malcolm Hill to a 10-day hardship contract. Hill played at Illinois from 2013-14 to 2016-17 and grew up near St. Louis in Belleville, Ill.
Warriors: Visit Minnesota on Sunday.
Bulls: Visit Boston on Saturday.