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10 observations: DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic lead Bulls past Warriors

Team improves to 3-0 on four-game trip with another clutch victory

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Presented by Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich

SAN FRANCISCO --- The Chicago Bulls improved to 3-0 on their four-game trip following Thursday’s 125-122 victory over the Golden State Warriors at the Chase Center.

“Emotionally we kept collectively competing through the good and the bad,” coach Billy Donovan said.

Here are 10 observations:

---Nikola Vucevic and DeMar DeRozan each scored 33 points, with Vucevic adding 11 rebounds and sinking two huge free throws with 6.1 seconds left. DeRozan, who added eight assists, sank a ridiculous three-point play in which he pump-faked Jonathan Kuminga into the air and threw an off-balance line drive in for a two-point lead with 26 seconds left that the Bulls never relinquished.

“This is great for everyone’s confidence,” Vucevic said. “We always talk about staying together and lifting each other up. With all the injuries and everything we’ve been through this year, I think it’s brought us closer together and built trust within one another. It shows. We play for one another and different guys are stepping up each game making big plays.

"We know this is the only way for us to be a good team."

---The Bulls snapped an eight-game road losing streak in this series, winning for the first time since Derrick Rose scored 30 points in a 113-111 overtime victory on Jan. 27, 2015.

---The Warriors played their league-leading 38th clutch game, while the Bulls played their 37th, which is tied for second with the Atlanta Hawks. The Bulls lead the NBA in clutch victories with 22.

---Both teams finished a back-to-back set of games, although the Warriors didn’t have to travel. The Bulls cooled off the red-hot Warriors, who blew out the Bucks at home on Wednesday and had won 14 of 18 entering.

---The Bulls outshot the Warriors from 3-point range, which is no easy feat. Vucevic and DeRozan each sank three of the Bulls’ 16 3-pointers, five more than the Warriors. Steph Curry had a quiet night with just five first-half points and 15 overall on 5-for-18 shooting before leaving late with a rolled ankle.

---The Warriors now start Draymond Green at center, and his matchup with Vucevic proved entertaining. Vucevic repeatedly scored over the smaller Green, while the Warriors dropped to 30-2 in regular-season games in which Green posts a triple-double. Green also fouled out late.

"The part to me that was good for us is we really focused on the next play and channeled our emotion in a competitive way," Donovan said. "The game got very physical on the offensive glass. I thought as the game got deeper into the fourth, we started to rebound better."

---Torrey Craig returned from missing the first seven games after the All-Star break with a knee injury he suffered during the break.

“Just a normal workout and I slipped. My foot went underneath me,” Craig said. “Freak accident.”

Pregame, coach Billy Donovan said Craig would be on a strict minutes limit of 12 to 16 minutes with short runs to limit his consecutive minutes. Craig finished with two assists and one rebound in 14 minutes, missing his only shot.

It’s the second freak injury Craig has endured this season. Previously, he missed 22 games with a plantar fascia sprain, an injury he said he never has had before.

“It just sucks because I pride myself on not missing games and in some aspects, you feel like you’re letting your brothers down,” Craig said. “We know we need to do a better job of rebounding, especially on the defensive end. Hopefully, I can help with that.”

---DeRozan channeled his inner Kobe Bryant in the first half, switching to his left hand and banking in a 17-foot runner while being fouled. DeRozan also scored on a four-point play as he scored 18 points in the first half.

Vucevic and Coby White scored the Bulls’ first 18 points before Onuralp Bitim sank a 3-pointer.

---Dalen Terry returned after missing Wednesday’s game for personal reasons. Terry had previously fallen behind Julian Phillips and Bitim in the rotation and didn’t play against the Warriors. With Craig back, Phillips served as 10th man with only spot minutes. But Phillips continued his solid play, knocking down his first attempt on a 3-pointer without hesitation and then drawing an offensive foul on Draymond Green at the other end.

---Tipoff came and went with no further league discipline for Bulls assistant coach Chris Fleming, who was assessed a technical foul on Wednesday in Utah when he and Jazz forward John Collins exchanged shoves.

“I spoke to our front office a little bit about it. I reached out to somebody in the league and had a conversation about it. It was an unfortunate situation. I didn’t get all the camera angles on the situation. But Chris was trying to diffuse the situation and it ultimately escalated the situation,” Donovan said. “I think it’s a lesson for us from the perspective that we just have to worry about controlling our bench and our guys. I think that was a good learning experience. I don’t think Chris’ intentions were ever to be physical. They were more to keep everybody separated. It’s unfortunate that what he was trying to do turned into something that he was trying to prevent form happening.”

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