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
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
“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.