Bulls-Warriors Preview

While the slumping Chicago Bulls still sit comfortably in the

Eastern Conference playoff picture, they didn’t look anything like

a contender their last time out.

Things aren’t about to get any easier with a visit to the


The Bulls look to snap their longest road losing streak in three

seasons Friday night against the Golden State Warriors, who have

dominated this series at home.

Averaging 92.1 points to rank 29th in the league, Chicago

(35-29) has been limited to an even uglier 81.4 during a five-game

skid in opposing arenas. The Bulls appeared to hit rock bottom

Wednesday in a 121-79 rout at Sacramento, dropping to 6-11 since

Feb. 4.

Chicago, which hasn’t lost six straight on the road since Feb.

22-March 17, 2010, was atop the Central Division and 2 1/2 games

out of first place in the East before sputtering. It’s now tied for

fifth with Boston and Atlanta, but seems assured of making the

playoffs with a 10 1/2-game lead over ninth-place Toronto.

“Our level of intensity was very poor. Our readiness to play was

very poor,” said coach Tom Thibodeau, whose team committed 17

turnovers and only forced five. “But I’m probably most disappointed

in me. It’s my job to have them ready. We can’t come out like that,

that’s on me. I have to drive (them) harder and I will.”

The Bulls shot 38.6 percent – the fourth straight game it was

under 39.0. In addition to Derrick Rose’s season-long absence,

Chicago continues to play without forward Taj Gibson (knee) and

veteran guards Richard Hamilton (back) and Kirk Hinrich (foot).

“I think we all have to look at ourselves in the mirror and

understand that we’re not competing the way that we’re supposed to

be competing. Got a lot of guys out, the margin for error is very

small,” Joakim Noah told the team’s official website.

“It’s no time to make excuses. We need to find a way to bounce

back. We just have to move on fast and get ready for Golden State.

They are a lot better team than (the Kings).”

While the Bulls handily got by the Warriors 103-87 on Jan. 25

behind Hinrich’s season-high 25 points, wins haven’t been easy to

come by at Golden State. Chicago has dropped 11 of 13 road meetings

in the series, including the last three by an average of 12.0


The Warriors (37-29) struggled through a brutal 3-10 stretch but

have since won four of six to get back on track. Two nights after

blowing out New York 92-63, Golden State beat Detroit 105-97 on


Stephen Curry led the way with 31 points and eight assists and

David Lee posted his NBA-leading 43rd double-double with 20 points

and 15 boards.

Winners of 10 of 13 at home, the Warriors sit in sixth place in

the West and are hoping to make their first postseason appearance

since 2006-07.

“I’ve been on a lot of teams where you’re waiting for the season

to be over,” said Lee, averaging 21.0 points over his last five

matchups versus Chicago. “It doesn’t matter what else is going on

because you’re not in any kind of race. That’s why this time of

year is exciting and we’re going to make the most of it.”

Curry has averaged 23.3 points, 8.0 assists and 7.6 rebounds

during Golden State’s home winning streak over the Bulls. He’s also

gone 8 for 15 from 3-point range.

Chicago’s Nate Robinson, who spent last season with the

Warriors, had 22 points against them in January. He’s scored 19 in

each of the last two contests.