Chicago looks to continue its postseason push and bounce back from a disappointing loss Wednesday night when it hosts a Warriors team trying to win back-to-back road games for the first time all season.
With 21 regular season games remaining, the Bulls (27-34) are a one-half game back of ninth-place New Jersey and one game behind eighth-place Milwaukee. Chicago, however, has struggled to make up much ground in the standings lately.
On Tuesday, the Bulls shot 39.0 percent and committed 18 turnovers in a 96-80 loss to Charlotte, their fourth defeat in six games.
“I didn’t like our effort,” Chicago coach Vinny Del Negro said. “I didn’t like our turnovers. Just a very sloppy game for us.”
Derrick Rose again struggled to find his shot, finishing with 13 points on 3-of-11 shooting. As he goes, so go the Bulls.
Rose is averaging 22.0 points on 51.2 percent shooting in Chicago’s last two victories but only 8.8 points on 30.8 percent shooting in the four losses. The No. 1 overall pick had 25 points on 12-of-19 shooting in a 115-110 win at Golden State on Nov. 21.
Similar to the Bulls, the Warriors (21-39) are 10th in the West. Unlike Chicago, though, Golden State has virtually no shot at the playoffs, sitting 15 games behind eighth-place Dallas with 22 games remaining.
The Warriors snapped a three-game skid with a 118-94 victory at Minnesota on Tuesday.
Golden State coach Don Nelson has essentially conceded the remainder of the season. He had been giving his regulars time off down the stretch as part of a plan to give the team’s younger players more exposure.
Captain Stephen Jackson returned to the Warriors’ lineup Tuesday after being given the day off in Sunday’s 112-104 loss to Utah. He finished with 23 points, seven rebounds and six assists against the Timberwolves.
“Yeah, it’s crazy. Got a little rest, rest always helps,” said Jackson, who is averaging 27.0 points and 7.4 assists in his last seven games.
Jackson had 32 points and six assists against the Bulls in November.
The Warriors opened a four-game road trip Tuesday with just their second win in 13 games away from Oracle Arena. Golden State is 6-24 on the road and has not won consecutive away games since March 19 and 23.
In their last trip to Chicago on Jan. 18, 2008, the Warriors won 119-111, snapping a six-game losing streak at the United Center.
The Bulls have been tough to beat at home lately, though, with victories over Northwest Division-leading Denver, Southeast-leading Orlando and Houston in their last three there.
Chicago’s Luol Deng could miss his second straight game Wednesday after suffering a bruised right leg in Saturday’s 105-102 comeback win over the Rockets. He was expected to play against the Bobcats, but ruled himself out about 15 minutes before tipoff.
“It didn’t feel right in warmups,” Deng said. “I couldn’t really push up. So it’s day by day.”
The Bulls have split their last 10 games overall, averaging 112.2 points in the victories but just 90.6 points in the losses. They shouldn’t have much trouble offensively against a Warriors team last in the league in scoring defense (111.4).