OAKLAND --- It was only the second night of the season, but it was one of those nights for Derrick Rose and the Bulls --- or at least they hope that's all it was.
"I don't know what it was," said Rose, who made just 4-of-17 shots and finished with 13 points. "We just don't want one of these nights again anytime soon. Just learn from it, and try to keep it moving, but remember it."
The Bulls offense struggled for the second time in two games in a 99-91 loss to the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena. No surprise there. The abbreviated preseason makes it more difficult to get players assimilated into the offense, especially teams that added a player or players, as the Bulls did with Rip Hamilton.
What was surprising is the Bulls' defense got misplaced somewhere between Los Angeles and the Bay Area. The smothering team defense the Bulls employed while rallying late against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers on Sunday was nowhere to be seen against a team most believe will finish behind the Lakers in the Western Conference.
The Warriors outscored the Bulls 42-32 in the paint.
"Our defense was bad," said Luol Deng, who had 22 points and 10 rebounds. "They're a very good pick-and-roll team and we kind of struggled all game keeping them out of the paint. From the start of the game our defense wasn't there. With a team like that, after the first quarter they got confidence and played with the lead the whole game."
Combine the uninspired offense with a poor defensive effort --- Curry and Monta Ellis combined for 47 points,17 assists and nine rebounds --- and throw in 20 turnovers that resulted in 22 Golden State points and it's easier to understand how the Bulls fell too far behind to stage another late-game rally.
"They're hard to guard normally," Bulls coach Tom Thiboudeau said. "Then you put them in the open floor and they're coming at you with a live ball and we're not back challenging shots and protecting the basket. if you give a team like that easy baskets they're confidence goes way up and they're impossible to stop after that. We can't play like that. We have to play defense. We have to rebound. We have to take care of the ball."
After trying to defend Ellis, the Warriors have some insight into the difficulty other teams have keeping up with Rose. Curry, meanwhile, played against the Clippers in the season opener despite having a sprained ankle and scored just four points on 2-of-12 shooting. Curry re-injured the ankle late in the game. Ellis has been dealing with issues of his own. Not only has he been named in a sexual harassment suit filed by a former team employee, but he learned Sunday that his grandmother had passed away in Mississippi.
The Warriors made 12 straight shots during one stretch. Not only were they hitting outside jumpers, but they were beating the Bulls to spots all over the floor and pouring in points in the paint. The Bulls had the league's top defense last season but they couldn't stay in front of Curry and Ellis. They struggled to find an answer to the athletic Lee. On several occasions, the Bulls were late getting back on defense, allowing the Warriors crowd-pleasing fastbreak opportunities.
Rose looked lost at times offensively.
"What we tried to do was give him different looks," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said of defending Rose. "He still found guys. He still made plays but I thought my guys did an outstanding job of making multiple effort plays. After being beaten they got back into the picture and they chased down loose rebounds. He's a tough assignment, but as a coach you cannot give a player of his caliber the same look every time."