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Bulls vs. Warriors game preview and thread: the champs are there

can Chicago put on a not-dreadful performance?

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NBA: Chicago Bulls at Golden State Warriors D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight, your Chicago Bulls will square off against the reigning champs as they try to recover from a Suns shellacking Wednesday.

Don’t let the Golden State Warriors’ 11-11 record fool you. The team’s starting five of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green and Kevon Looney has been the best five-man group in the NBA thus far this season, but its lackluster bench has cost it several wins already.

After winning their fourth title since 2015 last summer, the club let key role players Otto Porter Jr. (ugh) and Gary Payton II walk in free agency, hoping its youth movement would be ready to step in. Instead, newly-extended sixth man Jordan Poole has regressed a bit this year, while 2020 No. 2 draft pick James Wiseman has been so bad he’s playing with the Santa Cruz Warriors (he’s basically their Marko Simonovic now). Second-year wings Jonathan Kuminga and Moses “Mody Moosey” Moody continue to lack consistency and have both been healthy scratches at different points of the season. Currently, Kuminga has carved out a rotation spot off the bench, while Moody is on the outside looking in.

Things have stabilized a bit recently, as the team has gone 8-4 in its last 12 contests, with the league’s No. 11 defense during that recent stretch.

Most worryingly for the Bulls, Golden State remains one of the NBA’s elite three-point shooting teams, regardless of its meh title defense to start the year. The Warriors rank first in three-point attempts this season (42.9) and sixth in three-point percentage (37.6%). Chicago is dead last in triple tries (28.9) and just average in conversion rate (its 35.4% ranks the team in 15th place).

The team looked thoroughly outclassed against another excellent shooting squad with a rim-rolling center in Phoenix earlier this week, and could lose ground to the Warriors in a hurry tonight, should the team’s sharpshooters get cooking in the first half. The Bulls are just at such a competitive disadvantage against teams that can spread the floor. Chicago’s leading scorer DeMar DeRozan played pretty well on Wednesday night, but if nobody else steps up on offense, things could get ugly quickly.

Your trick-or-treat Bulls have split their current road trip 2-2. They notched solid victories against the Milwaukee Bucks and Utah Jazz and bumbled some clutch OT DeMar DeRozan moments in a bummer of an Oklahoma City Thunder defeat, before ultimately letting the Suns run roughshod over them. The Dubs, meanwhile, boast a 9-1 home record this season.

“Fun” bonus fact: the Bulls have not beaten the Warriors since the Three Alphas era in 2017.

Can this frustratingly talented-but-limited 9-12 Chicago team right the ship somewhat in NorCal, against either the Warriors tonight or the Kings Sunday? I remain dubious.

Injury Report:

The usual for the Bulls, no new injuries

Same for Golden State, who are all healthy outside of the long-term absence of vet Andre Iguodala, who hasn’t played yet this season.

Game Time: 9 p.m. CST, ESPN