NBA: Bulls top Golden State in Warriors’ 1st game without Durant
CHICAGO — Whether it’s a superstar going down or dropping back-to-back games, losses are starting to add up for the Golden State Warriors.
Jimmy Butler scored 22 points and the Chicago Bulls beat Golden State 94-87 on Thursday night in the Warriors’ first game since Kevin Durant injured his left leg.
Golden State was breathing a little easier after learning Durant probably will play again this season. He was hurt two nights earlier in a loss at Washington.
But the NBA-leading Warriors took another hit when their league-record regular-season streak without consecutive losses ended at 146 games.
“It was a hell of a run and we figured it’d probably end at some point this year,” coach Steve Kerr said. “Not that surprising that it’s on this trip. Without KD, we’re going through a tough time but we’re going to bounce back.”
Stephen Curry scored 23 points, and Klay Thompson had 13, but the star guards combined to hit just 3 of 22 3-pointers.
The Warriors dropped back-to-back regular-season games for the first time since April 5 and 7, 2015, at San Antonio and New Orleans.
“It was a great run,” Curry said. “For us to play that many games and not get in a situation like we’re in tonight, it’s pretty impressive. It’s remarkable. We’ll just have to try to start a new streak.”
Bobby Portis had 17 points and a season-high 13 rebounds for Chicago. The Bulls outscored Golden State 10-2 over the final three minutes to wipe out a one-point deficit and come away with their fifth win in six games.
Two of those victories were against conference leaders missing superstars. Chicago won at Cleveland with LeBron James staying home because of strep throat on Saturday.
Butler made all 10 free throws and had five rebounds, six assists and four steals. And Portis — in a bigger role after Taj Gibson got traded to Oklahoma City at last week’s deadline — had his first double-double of the season.
“I had to go in there every day with the right mindset, just go in there and work hard (in practice),” Portis said. “That’s one thing that I always had. I never try to get too low or too high. I credit my mom. I talk to her each and every day.”
Durant is scheduled to be examined again in about a month. If the eight-time All-Star is ready to return at that time, there would be about two weeks left in the regular season.
Of course, the Warriors have won big without Durant. They captured the championship two years ago and followed that up with a league-record 73 wins last season.
“We’ll adjust without him,” Thompson said. “We won’t make excuses. We’ll be better when he comes back. We’ve just got to push through. We’ve got enough talent, we’ve got enough depth.”
The Warriors, who beat the Bulls by 31 at home last month, were leading 85-84 when Butler hit two free throws with 2:53 left to start the game-ending run.
Wade buried a fadeaway jumper and Paul Zipser nailed a 3-pointer from the right wing to make it 91-85 with 1:41 left.
The Warriors are paying guard Jose Calderon after essentially backing out on a contract with him.
Golden State announced an agreement with the veteran guard on Wednesday after he negotiated a buyout from the Los Angeles Lakers, only to waive him hours later. That’s because they needed a forward with Durant hurt. With the maximum 15 players, they let Calderon go to create room for Matt Barnes.
“There was no way (owner) Joe Lacob was not going to honor it,” Kerr said. “Everything we do here is first class. You guys know that. The way we treat our players, the way we go about our business. There was never even a doubt. Joe just said: ‘The guy took a $400-thousand dollar pay cut to leave the Lakers. We’re not gonna leave him hanging out to dry.”
Warriors: The 87 points were a season-low for the Warriors. … Curry and Thompson are a combined 11 for 64 on 3-pointers over the past three games. … Kerr coached the game after missing the morning shootaround because of a stomach illness. … Thursday marked the 55th anniversary of Wilt Chamberlain’s record 100-point game for the Philadelphia Warriors against the New York Knicks.
Bulls: G Michael Carter-Williams missed his third consecutive game because of knee tendinitis. … Zipser had been sidelined by tendinitis in his left ankle.
Warriors: Visit the New York Knicks on Sunday.
Bulls: Host the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday.
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