Keys To The Game: Bulls at Warriors (11.12.2021)

The Chicago Bulls kick-off their five-game West Coast road trip with a matchup with the best team in the league record-wise, the 10-1 Golden State Warriors.

Stephen Curry is having a huge start to the season, with a 50-point outburst packed in-between two 20+ point performances over his last three games, all Warriors wins.

Chicago is coming off of two impressive wins, a 23-point win over the Brooklyn Nets and a 10-point win over Dallas. Friday night will provide the Bulls with another opportunity to separate from the Washington Wizards in the standings, with whom they are tied for first place in the Eastern Conference.

Slowing, Not Stopping, Steph

Simply put, there is no "stopping," Stephen Curry.

Curry has made at least one 3-pointer in 136 consecutive games, the league's longest active streak and the second-longest streak in NBA history.

Coming into Friday night, Curry is averaging 27.4 ppg. Per CleaningTheGlass.com, a career-high 63% of his shots are coming from 3-point range.

In the Dubs win over the Timberwolves on Wednesday, Curry was a paltry 3-9 from 3-point range and still had 25 points and 6 assists in a win. The Bulls will need to run Curry off the 3-point line and live with him creating for others at a high rate.

Control The Tempo

The Warriors play at the fifth-fastest pace in the league, while the Bulls are 17th in pace per NBA.com. Chicago is perfectly capable of playing up-tempo basketball with Lonzo Ball, Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan all excellent players in the open court.

All that being said, against the Warriors, the Bulls will likely have an easier time collecting a victory if the play at a slower tempo. The Bulls have the personnel (Alex Caruso, Ball, etc.) to wear down Curry on defense but they will have to expend a lot of energy to guard him.

Slowing down the game will help the Bulls' perimeter defenders and allow Chicago more opportunities to flex their league-leading 85.8 FT% on offense.

Gang Rebounding

Chicago and Golden State are both in the top-12 in rebound rate per NBA.com. Despite neither team having a ton of traditional-style bigs, they both have collected boards by gang rebounding. Curry (6.5 rebounds per game) is second on the Warriors in rebounds per game. And for Chicago, DeRozan, LaVine and Ball all average at least five rebounds per game.

Both the Warriors and Bulls are elite teams in terms of true shooting percentage, so whoever comes out on top on the boards will have the best chance to pull away on Friday night.