It was easy to get caught up in the euphoria of the Bulls' comeback victory over the Lakers on Sunday.
In reality, Derrick Rose's game-winning floater with 4.8 seconds left served as a distraction from the Bulls' miserable second-half performance. They played well for the final 3:44 but were badly outplayed by a short-handed Lakers squad during the rest of the half.
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Then the Bulls followed up the poor second half against the Lakers with a miserable three quarters against Golden State late Monday in Oakland, Calif. The Bulls trailed by 16 at halftime and by 17 at the end of three quarters. This time a furious rally fell short as they lost to the Warriors 99-91.
Golden State also was playing on back-to-back nights after losing at home to the Clippers on Sunday. Former broadcaster Mark Jackson recorded his first win as an NBA head coach.
The Bulls (1-1) were eaten alive by Warriors guards Monta Ellis (26 points) and Stephen Curry (21 points, 10 assists, 6 steals) but caught a break when Curry limped off the court with 5:52 left after turning his right ankle.
Trailing 84-65 with 8:45 remaining, the Bulls tried to mount another comeback. Former Warrior C.J. Watson knocked down 3 shots from 3-point range, then a 3-pointer by Luol Deng brought the Bulls within 91-83 with 4:24 remaining.
Ellis scored to stretch the lead back to 10, and the Bulls failed to convert on four straight possessions while the score remained the same. A Kyle Korver 3-pointer was wiped out by a three-second call, then the visitors missed several attempts from close range as the clock ticked down.
By the time Korver knocked down a pair of 3-pointers to bring the Bulls within 6, there were just 36 seconds left.
While the Bulls scrambled from behind, starters Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah and Richard Hamilton sat the entire fourth quarter. Hamilton scored all 10 of his points in the first half. Boozer produced 6 points and 3 rebounds in 26 minutes.
In the first half the Bulls' vaunted defense let the Warriors shoot 52.5 percent from the field. It looked like the visitors were playing in socks while trying to defend Ellis and Curry, who combined to score 32 points and hit 10 of 15 shots from the field by halftime.
The Bulls also coughed up 14 turnovers in the first half, finishing with 20. Deng led the Bulls with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Rose had 13 points and 8 assists but hit just 4 of 17 shots.
It's too early in the season to make any thorough judgments, but the Bulls have floundered before when faced with high expectations.
They followed up the 49-33 season of 2006-07 by missing the playoffs. That story had a very happy ending, though, because the Bulls won the draft lottery and picked Rose.