CHICAGO — The Bulls have made a habit of limiting opponents below 90 points, doing so a league-best 14 times since the New Year.
Doing so to a Western Conference power such as the Golden State Warriors goes beyond habit and into headlines.
The Warriors had been below 90 points just six times all season before Wednesday night at the United Center and entered averaging 103.3. But denying and demoralizing Stephen Curry on seemingly every cut, the Bulls ended the Warriors' four-game winning streak with an impressive 103-83 triumph.
Which team was finishing a back-to-back and which chilled in Chicago on Tuesday night again?
Winning for the seventh time in eight games, the Bulls played the part of the fresher team with one of their more well-rounded games of the season. They topped the century mark in consecutive regular-season games for the first time all season.
But the story of this one was defense, which limited the Warriors to 35.7 percent shooting and Curry to a season-low-tying five points on 2-for-10 shooting. That's 19 points below his 24.2 average, which ranked seventh in the league entering the night.
"Kirk set the tone with his pressure and tenacity," Joakim Noah said.
That would be Hinrich, who enjoys talking about his own play about as much as root canal surgery. Perhaps that's why Hinrich exited the postgame locker room while coach Tom Thibodeau still was addressing reporters.
His teammates and coaches handled the praise anyway.
"He gives you that toughness all the time," Thibodeau said. "That's why I always say with Kirk: You can never measure his true value by statistics. He sets the tone for the team with his defense and ball pressure."
Curry torched the Bulls for 34 points in the Warriors' blowout home victory Feb. 6. But the Bulls consistently denied Curry and then trapped him if he got the ball.
No Warriors starter scored in double figures. That's the first time that happened to their franchise since Feb. 12, 1999.
How bad did it get? Longtime Bulls fixture Pete Myers, now Mark Jackson's lead assistant with the Warriors, drew a third-quarter technical foul. By the time Noah's sweet backdoor bounce pass found a cutting D.J. Augustin for a layup, the Bulls capped a 15-2 run for a 28-point lead, the night's largest.
Taj Gibson led the Bulls with 21 points, while Carlos Boozer posted a double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds in just 24 minutes, 35 seconds and Noah again flirted with a triple-double. He finished with eight points, seven assists and 17 rebounds in 32:35.
Jimmy Butler returned from missing two games with bruised ribs to contribute 16 points.
"Getting Jimmy back gave us more depth and you need that against them because of their depth," Thibodeau said.
Butler said his ribs felt fine.
"It's even better because we won," he said.
Thibodeau said the game was among the Bulls' best defensive efforts of the season. The Bulls are 13-1 in those 14 games in which they have limited opponents below 90 points.
"That's the way we like it, taking players out of their game," Butler said. "It's frustrating for them."