OAKLAND – There it was, at long last, a performance ripe for the skeptics to seize upon and sprint to a self-satisfied conclusion about the Warriors.
They lack bump and thump, are thin in the paint and can't hang with the big boys.
That despite their intricate sets and quality depth and fabulous shooters – and that gaudy record – the Warriors will be exposed in the postseason for their abiding reliance on jump shots.
They surely missed dozens of jumpers Tuesday night, as well as four critical free throws in the fourth quarter, as they slogged off their home court with a 113-111 loss, in overtime, to the Chicago Bulls.
"We needed a test like this," said Draymond Green. "We were one or two plays away from winning it. They got a couple bounces and they made a couple plays. It happens. It was a playoff-type game and we were right there."
The Warriors (36-7) were without 7-foot center Andrew Bogut, who was announced with the starting lineup but retired to the locker room with the flu and did not return. He was desperately missed. Size mattered, and the Warriors didn't have enough against a Bulls team that was as aggressive as it is imposing.
"Their front line is probably as tall and long as any in the NBA," coach Steve Kerr said.
Bulls 7-footer Pau Gasol finished with 18 points and 16 rebounds. Joakim Noah, listed at 6-11, finished with 18 and 15. Taj Gibson, 6-9 and alarmingly persistent, had 10 points and nine rebounds in 24 minutes.
"We knew going in that that's their strength," Green said of Chicago's rebounding and interior presence. "If we got the rebound, we’d be off to the races; that's our strength. We've got to rebound the basketball better, and we'll focus on doing that.
"Obviously, not having Bogut hurts a little bit. But we've won games without him as well. That's not an excuse."
The Warriors are 27-2 with Bogut, 9-5 without him. The losses were to the Grizzlies, Lakers, Clippers, Thunder and now the Bulls – one of the longest teams in the league.
Size matters, particularly when there is such an imbalance – and when sharpshooters Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson get a few open looks and still combine to go 0-for-7 from beyond the arc after halftime.
On appearance alone, the Warriors were gnats waging war with horses. They were thoroughly outrebounded (61-48), slightly outshot (42.9 percent to 42.5) and so punished by second-chance points (24-14) that Chicago got away with committing 21 turnovers. Bulls star Derrick Rose survived a preposterous 11-turnover game.
All because many of the shots that usually fall for the Warriors did not. Not one of the 13 3-pointers they took after halftime found the bottom of the net, and they missed half their free throws while the Bulls shot 91.3 percent from the line.
"We made a hell of an effort," Kerr said. "Klay got free for a 3 that was right off the back iron. We had a couple other good looks. Steph had an open 3 in transition, but . . . it was just one of those games. Sometimes the shots don't go. We were scrapping and clawing, just couldn't finish it out."
And yet one made 3-pointer might have meant victory in regulation. Didn’t happen.
Andre Iguodala had an opportunity to push an eight-point lead to 10 in the fourth quarter but missed two free throws. Less than two minutes later, Harrison Barnes could've expanded a 10-point lead to 12. He also missed both free throws.
And so the Bulls (30-17) end the Warriors' home win streak at 19, slapping them with their first loss at Oracle since Nov. 11.
Charles Barkley, the Hall of Fame player who now serves as a national TV analyst, is the most vocal critic of the Warriors style of play. He can point to this game and justify his skepticism about the team with the best record in the league.
Too dependent on jump shots, he says.
"Them jump shots must fall a lot this year, because 36-7 don't come easy," Green said. "So they must fall a lot.
"We'll be fine. Nobody is jumping off the ship because we lose one game. People are not used to us losing, so everybody (can say) `They shoot jump shots and they didn't fall.' We lost by two. If they want to see us lose, that's fine. They won't see it often, so it don't matter."
Thompson was phenomenal early, with 20 first-half points on 9-of-13 shooting. He also pounded the glass, snagging a team-high 10 rebounds.
David Lee came off the bench, found his bearings in the first half and was the team's most proficient scorer after halftime, scoring 18 of his season-high 24 points.
Green delivered a snapshot of his season with a second-effort tip-in to tie the game with 2.6 seconds left in regulation to force overtime. He outworked Gasol and Noah.
Curry missed 14 of 23 shots and committed a ghastly turnover in the final minute of regulation that led to a Kirk Hinrich 3-pointer that gave Chicago its first lead of the second half.
Barnes is at times a strong rebounder. Not on Tuesday, when he grabbed five in 40 minutes.
The 61 rebounds by the Bulls are the most by any Warriors opponent this season.
There are a select few opponents where the absence of Bogut spells doom unless they find a way to offset it with brilliant defense or spectacular shooting. The Bulls are such a team. Curry or Thompson or somebody would have to go off for the Warriors to beat Chicago over seven games.
Yes, the Warriors shoot lots of Js and treys. But nothing new was exposed. They are vulnerable against certain teams when they don't have Bogut and they sealed their fate with uncharacteristically inaccurate shooting, despite open looks, particularly in the fourth quarter and OT.