GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS (50-10)
at CHICAGO BULLS (30-30)
Tip-off: Thursday, 8:05 p.m. ET
Line: Golden State -7.0, Total: 219.0
The Bulls will be looking to get over the .500 mark with a win over the Durant-less Warriors on Thursday.
SF Kevin Durant (Knee) suffered a pretty serious injury against Washington last game, and the superstar is expected to miss about a month or so of action for Golden State. Itís a big blow for the Warriors, but they still have plenty of talent on the roster and nobody is going to feel bad for them. The Warriors lost that game against the Wizards on Tuesday, as they fell 112-108 as seven-point road favorites. The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for Golden State, and the team will be hoping to get right back into the win column on Thursday. That wonít necessarily be easy against a Chicago team that has now won-and-covered in four of its past five games. The Bulls are playing well offensively, shooting 45.0% or better from the floor in four of their past five as well. Theyíll need to be clicking on that end on Thursday or they will get blown out in this one. That is exactly what happened to Chicago the last time the team faced Golden State, as the Warriors won that game 123-92 as 19-point home favorites. Golden State is now 4-1 both SU and ATS versus Chicago over the past three seasons, and that includes a 2-0 record both SU and ATS when playing at United Center. One trend that sticks out when looking at this game is that Chicago is 16-33 ATS after having won two of its most recent three games over the past two seasons. As previously mentioned, Durant is out indefinitely for the Warriors. SF Matt Barnes, meanwhile, could be in the lineup for Golden State. The team just signed him, but he might not be available to play just yet. For Chicago, both PF Paul Zipser (Ankle) and PG Michael Carter-Williams (Knee) are questionable.
The Warriors are going to be without Durant for a while, but this team won a championship and lost in the Finals in the two years before he showed up. Golden State should be just fine, and we could see some more of the PG Steph Curry (24.8 PPG, 6.3 APG, 4.4 RPG, 1.7 SPG) we saw last season moving forward. Curry was the unanimous MVP a year ago, and he will no longer need to worry about getting Durant a certain amount of touches per game. Look for him to shred this Chicago team on Thursday, as the Bulls are weak as the point guard position and have absolutely no match for him. SG Klay Thompson (21.9 PPG) could also see some more offensive explosions moving forward. Thompson has not shot the ball as well as he is capable of this season, but he might have been having trouble adjusting to his new teammates. Look for Thompson to turn it on in these next few weeks, as he is used to being the second option on offense. PF Draymond Green (10.2 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 1.4 BPG) could also enjoy some more looks. He was unbelievable in the loss to Washington, finishing with 14 points, 14 assists and eight boards in 40 minutes of action. He hit some big threes late, and heíll get some more opportunities to take those shots moving forward.
The Bulls are playing some good basketball right now, and they are doing that without SF Jimmy Butler (24.0 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 5.1 APG, 1.9 SPG) at his best. Butler had just eight points on 3-for-13 shooting in a loss to Denver on Tuesday, and he has scored fewer than 20 points in two of the past three games. Heíll need to be a lot better than that on Thursday or this Golden State team will destroy Chicago at United Center. SG Dwyane Wade (19.2 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 4.0 APG, 1.5 SPG) will also need to play extremely well for the Bulls to come away with this win. Wade has been great since the All-Star break, averaging 20.7 PPG over the past three contests. He was an efficient 8-for-14 from the floor in the loss to Denver on Tuesday, but the Bulls would be happy with another performance like that from him. Heíll just need to make sure he comes to play on the other end of the floor as well, as he canít afford to let Klay Thompson catch fire in this one. PF Nikola Mirotic (9.3 PPG, 5.2 RPG) could be an x-factor for the Bulls in this game, though. Mirotic prefers the pace that the Warriors like to play at, and he could give Chicago a lift by knocking down some outside shots. He struggled against Denver last game, but did average 17.0 PPG and 9.0 RPG in the previous two contests.