The Chicago Bulls will host the Golden State Warriors on Friday night in the NBA.
The Bulls (27-12, 15-5 home) are having quite a season after the additions of DeRozan, Ball and Vucevic, and are currently leading the standings in the Eastern Conference. Chicago has lost 2 of its last 3 games, but also won 10 of its last 12, so the team is really playing well lately.
The Warriors (30-10, 12-7 away, record does not include Thursday night’s game) are playing the Milwaukee Bucks as this pick is written, and will travel the following day to Chicago for a difficult back to back. Golden State has welcomed Klay Thompson back recently, and the team is looking like the number one favorite for the championship, but latest results have been shaky, mainly due to the absence of Draymond Green. Golden State is 1-3 in the last four games and 3-4 in the last seven (again, tonight’s game is not included).
The Warriors are playing the Bucks as we speak, and Klay Thompson is in the lineup, which means he will almost definitely not play against the Bulls, as he is not ready for back to backs. James Wiseman and Draymond Green will also miss that game and, with it being a back to back, it wouldn’t be surprising if guys like Iguodala will also be rested (maybe even Curry, though I wouldn’t rely on that).
As such, the Warriors will be shorthanded against the Bulls, missing two of their best players and potentially a couple other rotation pieces as well. On the road, on a back to back, against one of the best teams in the league, and with the Warriors struggling for form, this does not sound like a recipe for success. If we’re being honest, the Warriors are vulnerable without Draymond Green against the good teams. Even if all else would be ideal, Green’s absence alone would have made this an extremely difficult game. He is so important to this team.
The Bulls will also be without a few players (Williams, Caruso, Jones Jr, Cook, Green), but these are not high-impact guys and all the key pieces will be available.
Golden State is arguably the best team in the NBA, and you can never rule Steph Curry out, but they will be vulnerable here. A very solid team like the Bulls should be able to take advantage. My tip is Chicago to win and I wouldn’t be surprised if odds will drop as Klay Thompson (and possibly a couple of other guys) will be officially ruled out. Prediction: Chicago Bulls – Golden State Warriors 110 – 102.