THE Chicago Bulls rode a late surge to turn back the misfiring Golden State Warriors, 94-87, in their first game without Kevin Durant on Thursday (Friday, Manila time) at the United Center.
The Warriors actually looked fine without Durant, who will sit out at least four weeks due to a knee injury, early on in building a 10-point lead in the second quarter. But Jimmy Butler closed the period strong, pouring in 10 points in the frame, to enter the break trailing by four, 51-47.
Dwyane Wade then sparked a 10-0 run late in the third quarter to get the Bulls on top and Chicago even took a 79-75 lead into the fourth period.
Steph Curry heated up midway through the fourth with six straight points to help Golden State momentarily regain control, 85-84, with 5:43 to go. But the Bulls went on a 7-0 run, capped by a huge three from unlikely hero Paul Zipser, to put Chicago ahead 91-85 into the final two minutes.
Andre Iguodala got the Warriors within four, but the Bulls held on with crucial free throws as Curry and Klay Thompson struggled to find the range late.
Butler finished with 22 points for the Bulls (31-30), while Bobby Portis ended up with a double-double of 17 markers and 13 rebounds. Wade added 12 points.
Curry led the Warriors, who have lost two in a row to fall to 50-11, with 23 points, while Klay Thompson added 13. But the Golden State star backcourt combined for 3-of-22 shooting from beyond the arc. Draymond Green had 12 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.