Warriors-Bulls Preview

The Chicago Bulls have a tough homestand ahead as they try to

break out of a dismal losing stretch, but their offensive woes

could be helped by facing the league’s worst defensive team.

The Bulls try to avoid a fifth straight loss Friday night when

they begin a stretch of six consecutive games at the United Center

with a matchup against the Golden State Warriors.

Chicago (7-13) is one of the NBA’s lowest-scoring teams at 90.6

points per game, and it’s been particularly inept offensively

recently, failing to reach 90 points in three of the last four.

After suffering a two-point loss to New Jersey, which came into

Chicago on Tuesday with a league-low one win, the Bulls had one of

their worst performances of the season in a 118-83 defeat at

Atlanta on Wednesday. Chicago shot a season-low 36.4 percent and

was outscored 31-15 in the third quarter after Atlanta opened the

second half on a 20-4 run.

The Bulls, who have lost nine of 10, also have struggled

defensively, allowing opponents to average 106.3 points in the last

10 games after yielding 91.8 in the first 10.

“Either you want it or you don’t,” said point guard Derrick

Rose, who scored 19 on Wednesday. “Hustle, if you want it. Rebound.

The score tonight speaks for itself. We’re just not playing

hard.”

Rose and the Bulls have been outscored by an average of 20.8

points during the losing streak. They’ll try to rebound during this

homestand, but it won’t be easy, as Chicago will meet Boston and

the Los Angeles Lakers in its next two.

“We really need to stick together,” center Joakim Noah said. “I

think there’s enough character on this team for us to turn this

around.”

Chicago may have a chance to break out of its offensive slump

against Golden State, which is giving up a league-high 112.5 points

per game. The Warriors (7-14) had their four-game losing streak

snapped with a 105-89 win at New Jersey on Wednesday.

Monta Ellis scored 14 of his 18 points in the second half and

the Warriors scored 30 points off 22 turnovers.

“Tonight was a great show of it from what we really have and the

talent we have,” Ellis said. “If we just stay together, we can just

grind it and keep playing hard and play together, we can turn this

thing around.”

Ellis, who came in averaging 31.0 points in the previous nine

games, was one of six players who finished with double figures in

scoring. Center Mikki Moore had a season-high 16 points, making

eight of 12 field goals.

“We can’t just rely on Monta to score 50 points every night.

That’s one thing that’s going to be wear and tear,” Moore said. “By

the time he gets to the All-Star break, he’s going to be

handicapped. I think we’re starting to learn our roles. It’s

helping out everybody.”

The Warriors have lost three straight to the Bulls and seven of

the last eight in Chicago. The Bulls averaged 112.5 points in the

two meetings last season.