Tonight, the Chicago Bulls bid to keep the good times rolling as they shoot for a season-best three-game win streak in hosting the Golden State Warriors in their only Windy City appearance of the year.
Chicago takes the floor winners of back-to-back games for the first time in 2019-20. The streak began Monday in Sacramento with a 113-106 victory over the Kings and carried over Wednesday at home with a 106-99 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.
Bulls guard Zach LaVine has been on fire, averaging 29.3 points while shooting 47.1% from the field and 45.9% from 3-point range over his last four games. Against the Grizzlies, LaVine scored or aided on 13 straight points down the stretch to push Chicago to victory after Memphis had drawn to within a point with just 4½ minutes left to play.
In addition to LaVine's big night starting center Wendell Carter Jr. also contributed 16 points, 13 rebounds and four blocked shots, while forward Lauri Markkanen added 15 points on 4-of-8 shooting from behind the arc, and point guard Tomas Satoransky chipped in 13 more to go along with eight assists and six rebounds.
For the Warriors, tonight's contest concludes a five-game Eastern Conference road trip. They'll hit the hardwood having lost four in a row and seven of their last eight, with the lone victory coming against the Bulls back home on November 27, 104-90.
Rookie forward Eric Paschall finished with a team-high 25 points that night to go along with seven rebounds, while veteran Alec Burks stepped into the starting lineup for injured teammate D'Angelo Russell, contributing 23 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.
As usual, LaVine led the Bulls attack with a game-high 36 points, five rebounds and five assists, while Satoransky added 19 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and two steals.
D'Angelo Russell, who had missed nine straight games with a thumb injury, returned to the Golden State lineup against Charlotte the other night and led the ‘Dubs with 18 points, while Paschall posted 16 and Burks contributed 15 off the bench.
For the Bulls stay on track this evening they're going to need to continue being aggressive at both ends of the floor. An unyielding rebounding effort — especially at the defensive end — will help fire up Chicago's running game and grant the Bulls opportunities to post easy scores in transition.
The Bulls are at their best when they come out of the gates fast and establish a speedy pace from the start. They also must consistently look to share the ball, freely skipping it from player-to-player and from side-to-side, while at the same time search for opportunities to take advantage of openings in the defense. All five players on the floor also need to be willing to attack the basket whenever a lane opens to the hoop.
For Chicago to succeed they have to approach every contest with a blue-collar attitude, aggressively battling on the boards, jumping passing lanes, double-teaming when necessary, and never fail to hustle back on defense and/or work hard every possession and go after every loose ball.
Injuries have haunted Golden State all season long. All-Stars Steph Curry and Klay Thompson are out of commission again tonight. Curry has missed the last 19 games with a fractured left hand suffered on October 30th. He recently said he hopes to get back in action sometime in the Spring, but only time will tell. Thompson tore his left ACL during last season's NBA Finals and isn't expected to play at all this year. As mentioned earlier, D'Angelo Russell missed several games with a thumb injury and after returning the other night against Charlotte, suffered a sprained left finger against the Hornets, and is listed as probable for this evening. And last, but certainly not least, All-Star forward Draymond Green has also missed time dealing with a few ailments, but is expected to play tonight, nonetheless.