Two winning streaks enter, only one will leave: Chicago vs. Golden State

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 24: Jordan Bell
OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 24: Jordan Bell /

The Chicago Bulls and Golden State Warriors, both riding three game winning streaks, face off Wednesday night at the United Center.

Since Dec. 7, the Golden State Warriors and Chicago Bulls have two of the best records in the NBA and rank first and fourth, respectively, in assists per game. The Warriors and Bulls are also top four in assist-to-turnover ratio and have assisted on over 60% of their made baskets during this stretch.

This season has given Fred Hoiberg the chance to implement his free-flowing, fast-passing offense and with Nikola Mirotic coming back and the even more recent return of Zach LaVine, Hoiberg is finally getting some more talent to work with (in terms of this season’s roster).

It’s evident watching the Bulls that they are in a completely different place now than they were in a 49-point beatdown, courtesy of the Warriors, on Nov. 27

Chicago was absent David Nwaba, Mirotic and LaVine, while Paul Zipser and Cristiano Felicio both received 16 minutes of run in that game, something I would bet (and hope) will not happen Wednesday.

Zach LaVine has looked positively fresh in his two games of action, showing off his smooth 3-point stroke and exploding past slower defenders for layups. LaVine has shot 5-for-8 from behind the arc in his two games.

I’d imagine Steve Kerr will open with Klay Thompson guarding LaVine, and that should be a fun little matchup to monitor. Seeing how LaVine plays against a premier perimeter defender will be a good test for him this early into the comeback and will give Hoiberg a chance to flex his play-calling chops.

This should be a closer game

I don’t believe the offense will be crisp as it has been against other teams recently, since Golden State boasts one of the best defenses in the league.

However, if the Bulls offense operates at a similar level and can keep them in the game, it may be time to take this team seriously. Introducing LaVine into the rotation has not thrown the team for a loop as much as I thought yet, but Wednesday might be the game that starts to show.

Jordan Bell part two is also a fun subplot to keep in mind.

One last thing: this is a given, but a key to this game will be Chicago keeping Golden State out of transition.

Offensively, the Warriors are first in frequency of plays and eighth in points per 100 possessions coming in transition, per Cleaning the Glass. Meanwhile, the Bulls only allow 14.4% of opponents possessions to come in transition, good for sixth in the league. However, when opponents do get transition chances they feast, as Chicago is dead last in points allowed per 100 transition plays on defense, courtesy of Cleaning the Glass.

Injury/Reserve Report

Golden State: Andre Iguodala (calf injury) and Draymond Green (shoulder injury) are questionable.

Chicago: Cameron Payne (foot injury) is out.

Here’s all the information you’ll need for Wednesday’s game, including links to stream the Bulls facing the Warriors and a link for the radio call in the Chicagoland area.

Game: Chicago Bulls vs. Golden State Warriors

When: Wednesday, January 17

Where: Chicago, Illinois

Arena: United Center

Tip-off time: 7 p.m.

Live Stream: Fubo TV, NBC Sports Chicago