Chicago Bulls vs. Golden State Warriors Pick & Prediction JANUARY 12th 2024

Something will have to change Friday night when the Chicago Bulls, coming off two overtime wins, host the Golden State Warriors, who have been blown out in each of their last two outings.

The Bulls have won three in a row by a total of 25 points, the most recent two coming in extra time — 119-112 on the road over the Charlotte Hornets on Monday and 124-119 at home Wednesday night against the Houston Rockets.

They’ll go for a season-high-tying fourth straight win against a Warriors team that got booed out of town following 133-118 and 141-105 thrashings at the hands of the Toronto Raptors and New Orleans Pelicans, respectively, to end a disastrous 2-5 homestand.

The clubs have not met since last Jan. 15, when the Bulls snapped an 11-game losing streak against Golden State and its coach, Steve Kerr, the former five-time champion as a key contributor during the Michael Jordan dynasty.

Kerr has coached the Warriors to seven wins in nine return visits to Chicago starting in 2014.

One of those two coaching losses came last January, when Nikola Vucevic exploded for 43 points in a 132-118 Bulls win. Interestingly, the Warriors were playing the second game on the road after another lengthy homestand — an eight-gamer — that ended poorly with three straight losses, the last two by a total of 26 points to the Orlando Magic and Phoenix Suns.

Those 14- and 12-point defeats would rate as nailbiters compared to the shellackings Golden State took against the Raptors and Pelicans over the past five days.

“We’re just lacking confidence right now,” Kerr said after Wednesday’s loss to New Orleans. “You just sort of get to a stage sometimes where you just kind of lose your belief. It happens.”

The losses occurred with Draymond Green watching from the bench after his 12-game suspension ended Sunday. He is expected to play at some point of the team’s current four-game trip.

Kerr recognizes his squad isn’t the same without Green and Chris Paul, who suffered a broken left hand on the homestand.

“One of the (assistant) coaches on the way down (to the locker room) said we’re the quietest team ever,” Kerr said. “Without Draymond and Chris, it’s really exposed. We need Draymond. We need Chris. We need guys who can kind of rally the troops right now.”

The Bulls have had two guys in particular do exactly that in their overtime sessions in the past four days. They outscored the Hornets 12-5 behind four points and four rebounds from Vucevic, then the Rockets 12-7 with Zach LaVine contributing half the points.

After Wednesday’s win, Bulls coach Billy Donovan complimented LaVine for being unselfish.

“It speaks more to who Zach is as a person and a teammate that he’s coming in there and trying to figure out how he can help the team and the group,” Donovan said. “I think for him, wanting to fit in, wanting to help the group, he’s trying to figure that out. (He’s not) just coming in and saying, ‘Hey, I’m going to be aggressive.’ He’s trying to figure out, ‘How can I be aggressive and still help the team?’ I think he’ll figure that out.”

–Field Level Media

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