The Golden State Warriors are expected to have all hands on deck and encounter a short-handed opponent for a change when they visit the Chicago Bulls on Sunday afternoon.
In their third game since Stephen Curry returned from a dislocated left shoulder and fourth since Andrew Wiggins came back from a strained adductor/illness, Golden State will be seeking a second consecutive road win for the first time this season on the second stop of a five-city trip.
The Warriors began the journey in record-breaking fashion, entertaining the biggest crowd ever to attend an NBA game (68,323) with a 144-point explosion in a 31-point romp over the San Antonio Spurs at the Alamodome on Friday night.
Golden State had its preferred starting lineup of Curry, Klay Thompson, Wiggins, Draymond Green and Kevon Looney together for just the second time since Dec. 2, and all five contributed significantly to the win.
Thompson and Wiggins had 16 points apiece and Curry was right behind with 15, while Green recorded a game-high 12 rebounds to go with six points, four assists and three steals, and Looney posted a 14-point, 10-rebound double-double.
Even the Warriors’ much maligned bench took the opportunity to shine, with Jordan Poole running up the game’s most points (25) and Donte DiVincenzo adding 22, while Anthony Lamb (13) and Moses Moody (12) also scored in double figures.
On a night DiVincenzo labeled “cool and surreal,” Curry jokingly noted, “It takes (over) 64,000 to bring our best road performance of the year.”
Added Poole, “Really special occasion being able to play in front of the largest crowd in NBA history. Shout out to the NBA, shout out to the Warriors, shout out to the Spurs for putting together an amazing event. I’m glad we got the win.”
While the defending-champion gang is back together, the Bulls will limp into the game having lost three in a row, the last two to the Washington Wizards on the road and Oklahoma City Thunder at home.
Alex Caruso observed after Friday’s 124-110 home embarrassment against the Thunder that it’s time for the 19-24 club to take a step back.
“We have good spurts, but not a full concentrated effort (defensively),” he said. “Just basics. Being in the gaps. Rotating the low man. Scrambling out and then boxing out.”
It also would be nice to get all the club’s big pieces back, but nobody is quite sure when that might happen. Point guard Lonzo Ball hasn’t played in a year and a day after two knee surgeries and remains out indefinitely. DeMar DeRozan has missed the last two games with a strained right quad. And Zach LaVine has been playing through a painful bruise on his right hand.
The Bulls had DeRozan and LaVine available in a 119-111 loss at Golden State in December. The Warriors had their regular starting five in place, with Thompson leading the way with 26 points.
Thompson wasn’t available a year ago when the Warriors last visited Chicago and had an Alamodome-type performance in a 138-96 romp. Starting in Thompson’s spot, Poole had 22 points.
–Field Level Media