Warriors at Bulls: Three keys to Golden State winning first 2020-21 game

Monte Poole
·3 min read

Three keys to Warriors beating Bulls for first win of season originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

After two games during which they were blasted by the best the Eastern Conference has to offer, the Warriors on Sunday have a reasonable chance of getting up, dusting themselves off and fighting back.

They’re slight favorites against the lowly Chicago Bulls. Coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 4 p.m., with tipoff at United Center scheduled for 5:05.

Though the Warriors hoped to have Draymond Green back in the lineup, he was declared out late Sunday afternoon. In addition, backup center Marquese Chriss was diagnosed with a possible season-ending fibula fracture and a syndesmosis ankle injury in his right leg.

Both teams are 0-2, but the Warriors’ losses were to championship contenders at Brooklyn and Milwaukee. Chicago’s losses were at home against the Hawks and Pacers, two teams hoping to reach the playoffs.

The Warriors have won nine of the last 11 games against the Bulls, including the last three in Chicago.Here are three keys to a Warriors victory:

Wings wake up

Andrew Wiggins and Kelly Oubre Jr. have posted two equally appalling games, shooting a combined 24.1 percent, including 9.5 percent beyond the arc. Wiggins’ defense has been substandard and Oubre’s only slightly better.

The No. 1 goal of the Warriors, according to coach Steve Kerr, is to build a high-quality defense. That can’t happen without Wiggins and Oubre being totally engaged and astute.

If they do that, their shooting will come easier and the Warriors will begin to look like the team they believe they can be. If they can’t do those things in this game, against this opponent, there is good reason to wonder if they can at all.

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Steph looks like Steph

Stephen Curry made 105 consecutive 3-pointers in practice on Saturday. That’s a very Steph move, hating the way he shot in his first two games and determined to fix it.

He has to, for the Warriors to compete. Through two games, he’s averaging 19.5 points, shooting 34.2 percent from the field, including 20.0 percent from distance. His best chance has been at the line, where he is 9-of-9 and has made 55 consecutive free throws.

Curry will have his chances, as the Chicago backcourt – point guard Coby White and shooting guard Zach LaVine – is notoriously bad on defense. Atlanta’s Trae Young burned the Bulls for 37 points in the opener and Pacers guards Victor Oladipo and Malcolm Brogdon shot 16-of-26 on 61.5 percent on Saturday.

Early 3-balls

The Warriors through two games are shooting 25.6 percent from beyond the arc. They’re not a great 3-point shooting team, but they’re better than that, certainly against this opponent. If they nail a few early, faith will follow.

RELATED: Oubre not worried about early season struggles

As long as Curry is on the floor, there will be open shots for others. As long as James Wiseman is diving toward the rim, there will be open looks for his teammates.

Damion Lee and Mychal Mulder, shooting a combined 6-of-11 from deep, are the best bets to take advantage.  Their teammates, 14-of-67 from distance, have been the issue. Expect Chicago’s pliant defense to provide opportunities to bust the slump.

OddsMoney LinePoint SpreadTotal Points
Chicago
+125+2.5O 228.5
Charlotte
-150-2.5U 228.5