GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS (35-22)
at CHICAGO BULLS (30-26)
Tip-off: Wednesday, 8:05 p.m. ET
Line: Golden State -3, Total: 187.5
The Warriors go for their fifth straight win on Wednesday when they head to United Center to take on the Bulls.
Golden State has won four straight and five of their past six games, going 5-0-1 ATS in those contests. The Warriors have allowed only 94.0 PPG on 41.3% FG (27.5% threes) during these half-dozen games, which doesn't bode well for a Chicago team that scores the fewest points in the NBA this season (92.8 PPG). However, the Bulls have been hot too, as they have won six of their past seven games (SU and ATS), allowing just 89.1 PPG on 42.4% FG over that stretch. Golden State has been a strong road team this season at 17-12 SU (16-13 ATS), while Chicago is a mere 16-10 SU (13-13 ATS) at home. In the first meeting between these two teams this season on Feb. 6, the Warriors crushed the Bulls 102-87 as 6.5-point home favorites, but Chicago has dominated this series at United Center since 1996 with a 12-3 SU mark (9-5-1 ATS). Both teams have telling negative trends though, as the Bulls are 9-20 ATS (31%) at home after going Over the total in the past two seasons while Golden State is 28-57 ATS (33%) on the road after scoring 60+ points in the first half of its previous game since 1996. While Chicago SG Jimmy Butler (ribs) is doubtful for this matchup, PF David Lee (illness) is probable to play for the Warriors.
Which team will stay hot on Wednesday night? For the answer, connect to The Platinum Sheet for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. The five StatFox experts have been heating up in NBA Best Bets recently with a 58% ATS record (33-24-1) since Feb. 10. StatFox Dave has a stellar 60% ATS (37-25-1) Best Bets record since Dec. 1 and is 55% ATS (47-39-1) on Best Bets for the season. StatFox Zach has a strong 59% ATS mark (34-24-3) on Best Bets since Dec. 1 and is 54% ATS (45-38-3) on Best Bets for the season. StatFox Brian is really catching fire, going 70% ATS (16-7-1) since Jan. 25 and 60% ATS (31-21-1) in Best Bets since Dec. 12.
The Warriors are on a tear recently, with their only loss in the past six games coming by a single point versus Miami on Feb. 12. Golden State opened its current six-game road trip Monday in Detroit, prevailing 104-96 behind the all-around effort from star PG Stephen Curry (24.2 PPG, 8.9 APG, 4.4 RPG, 1.7 SPG). Curry played 36 minutes and finished the game with 19 points, nine assists and eight rebounds. Curry also had 34 points (13-of-19 FG) and nine assists in the blowout win over Chicago earlier this month. SG Klay Thompson (18.0 PPG, 40% threes) broke out of a shooting slump (36% FG over a 5-game stretch) against the Pistons, finishing with an efficient 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting. Thompson also played well against the Bulls in the first meeting, finishing with 22 points on 8-of-16 FG (3-of-6 threes) in 40 minutes of play. With PG Steve Blake (9.0 PPG, 7.1 APG, 3.6 RPG, 1.2 SPG) as the backup point guard for the Warriors now, SG Jordan Crawford (11.8 PPG, 4.6 APG) can comfortably go back to a second-unit scoring role for Golden State. He was on fire against the Pistons on Monday, finishing with 15 points (4-of-8 threes) in just 18 minutes. The Warriors could certainly use similar bench production against a tough defensive team like Chicago. PF David Lee (19.1 PPG, 9.9 RPG) sat out the first meeting against the Bulls and his presence, even when he’s sick, will be huge for the Warriors in this game. Before missing the past two games, Lee had posted four straight double-doubles (21.3 PPG, 12.3 RPG).
The Bulls escaped Atlanta on Tuesday night with a 107-103 victory thanks in large part to PF Taj Gibson (13.0 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 1.4 BPG) who scored 14 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Gibson has played extremely well in increased minutes this season and is averaging 17.9 PPG and 8.4 RPG during an eight-game streak of scoring in double-figures. In the first meeting with the Warriors, he had 26 points, 13 rebounds, four assists, two blocks and two steals in 46 minutes of play. C Joakim Noah (12.1 PPG, 11.4 RPG, 4.5 APG, 1.4 BPG) also made his mark in the loss to Golden State on Feb. 6, finishing with seven points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. Noah is averaging 18.0 PPG and 12.7 RPG during a three-game streak of double-doubles, and his speed and constant activity on both ends of the floor should tire out the Warriors big men and provide Chicago with a huge advantage inside. One player who has really stepped it up for the Bulls recently is SG Kirk Hinrich (8.7 PPG, 4.3 APG). Hinrich has scored at least nine points in eight straight games, averaging 13.0 PPG (48% threes), 3.5 APG and 3.3 RPG during this stretch. He has also played some excellent defense against opposing guards and will need to do his best to keep Stephen Curry from exploding offensively.