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Preview: Warriors embark into second half of the season by hosting the wayward Bulls

Shaun Livingston listed as questionable in the match against Chicago.

Golden State Warriors v Chicago Bulls

The Golden State Warriors are going to play one last game in the comfy confines of Oracle Arena before packing up for a long road trip. In their last game out, the Warriors smacked the New York Knicks around and looked more like themselves than they have in a long time.

Some of that is certainly due to the team’s returning health, as well as the looming return of one Demarcus Cousins sized solution to our Center rotation. But some of it, frankly, was also due to the fact that the Knicks aren’t that good.

Like Hulk Hogan wrestling some guy named Steve Stephenson in a mid-season match, the Warriors are set up against another potential patsy opponent: the struggling Chicago Bulls.

Would Hulk Hogan have shown mercy? Nah.

Game Details

WHO: Golden State Warriors (27-14) vs. Chicago Bulls (10-31)

WHEN: Friday, January 11; 7:30 p.m.

WHERE: Oracle Arena — Oakland, CA

WATCH: NBCSBA

RADIO: 95.7 The Game

A return to form and exciting promise of some new blood

As we’ve been saying all season, once Klay Thompson starts hitting his shots it will make the entire system look significantly better. Well, he has officially emerged from his shooting funk. Thompson scored 43 points on 18-of-29 shooting against Knicks, heralding the return of the stoic Brother of Splash. Beyond that though, everything is just starting to look better; team assists are flowing in the offense, the cuts are quicker and the passes are crisp. The defense still needs some work, but that too should come around once the games start to matter.

But it’s not just Thompson’s hot shooting that has the team excited and re-engaged — it looks like Demarcus Cousins will be back next week! Upon his return, he’ll immediately be slotted into the starting lineup, according to Steve Kerr. This has got to reinvigorate a team that has been slogging through extended seasons for four straight years now.

The Bulls are soft on both ends of the court, but athletic

I feel like I’m retreading some of the preview from the Knicks game, but only because it is also true about this team: the Chicago Bulls are really bad at both offense and defense.

While they have some offensive talent in Zach LaVine, Wendell Carter Jr. and Kris Dunn, it just doesn’t seem to be coming together all that well for the Bulls. As per NBA.com, the Bulls have the worst offensive efficiency in the entire league. They don’t do enough to make up for the bad efficiency anywhere else either, so they end up with the lowest points per game total in the NBA as well.

Their defense is loads better, but only good enough for the 22nd rank in defensive efficiency. This is a tsunami of awfulness — the Bulls have lost 18 of their last 23 games in spite of playing the second-easiest schedule... yikes.

Last time these two teams faced off, Klay Thompson set a new NBA record for most three pointers made in a game (14) and Chicago native son Alfonzo McKinnie had a career-high 19 points and 10 rebounds. Oh, and the Warriors laid 149 points on the Bulls in a 25-point blowout.

I don’t really see anything that would make this outcome a whole lot different.

Prediction

Warriors 148 points, Chicago... not nearly as many.

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