The defending champion Golden State Warriors endured some frustrating performances on their just-completed road trip and will try to avoid back-to-back losses for the first time this season when they return home to host the Chicago Bulls on Friday. The Warriors dropped two of four on the trip and struggled at times in the two victories.
Golden State was whipped 108-91 by the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday and trailed by enough that coach Steve Kerr pulled his starters early in the fourth quarter. “It was just that kind of night,” Kerr told reporters. “We didn’t have any focus or concentration. Millennials couldn’t lock in tonight, and their coach couldn’t do much, either, so it was a long night for us.” The Bulls own the fewest wins in the NBA and saw their latest slide reach three straight with a 110-80 loss at Utah on Wednesday. Chicago is 29th in the league in scoring at an average of 94.4 points and is about to finish its four-game road trip against a Golden State squad that leads the league in scoring (116.4).
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, NBATV, NBCSN (Chicago), NBCSN Bay Area (Golden State)
ABOUT THE BULLS (3-13): Chicago doesn’t plan on competing for a playoff berth this season and is just looking for signs that some of the young players on the roster can be building blocks for the future. Point guard Kris Dunn, who was acquired over the summer in the deal that sent Jimmy Butler to Minnesota, moved into the starting lineup this week and is showing off a wide range of skills that allowed him to average 15.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and five assists over the last four contests. Dunn is joined in the starting lineup by promising rookie power forward Lauri Markkanen, who posted back-to-back double-doubles on Sunday and Tuesday before slumping to three points on 1-of-9 shooting Wednesday.
ABOUT THE WARRIORS (13-5): Wednesday’s game at Oklahoma City was hyped as another return for star forward Kevin Durant, who left the Thunder to join Golden State prior to last season, and turned out to be a joy for the home crowd as Durant and the Warriors stumbled. “The story’s about the game,” Durant said. “We lost. They kicked our (butt). They played a great game. You should give them credit for how they played, and we should be better.” Golden State could use more consistency on the offensive end from shooting guard Klay Thompson, who scored 23 points on 10-of-17 shooting on Sunday at Brooklyn but slumped to nine points on 3-of-12 on Wednesday.
1. Bulls C Robin Lopez is averaging 15 points on 19-of-31 shooting over the last three games.
2. Golden State PF Draymond Green went 2-of-13 from 3-point range on the road trip.
3. Chicago snapped a three-game losing streak in the series with a 94-87 home win on March 2.
PREDICTION: Warriors 123, Bulls 92