Golden State at Chicago Lines, Expert Pick & TV InfoWhen: Thursday, March 2, 8 PM ET Where: United Center, Chicago TV: TNT Stream: NBA.tv Radio: Golden State / Chicago NBA Odds: Warriors favored by TBA
Why bet on Golden State?The Warriors are good enough to win when two-time reigning NBA MVP Steph Curry struggles. In Monday’s victory at Philadelphia, Curry was especially out of sorts, with two early air balls, and he finished 0-for- 11 from distance. That qualifies as the most he has missed without a make in his career, and it ties the NBA record shared by Utah’s Trey Burke and Boston’s Antoine Walker for 3-point misses sans a make.
“The weatherman said it was like a low-pressure system that was coming in, and I forgot to adjust to the thinness of the air, the thickness of the air, whatever it is,” Curry wryly said. “It happens, but you’ve gotta find other ways to try to impact the game, whether it’s trying to get to the paint a little bit more, defensively just trying to make plays.”
Kevin Durant returned from a one-game absence due to his left hand injury and hit 8-of- 17 shots, a 3- pointer and 10-of- 11 free throws for 27 points, eight rebounds, four assists and a block in the win. Golden State won its 50th game of the season on Monday, recording the eighth 50-win season in franchise history — including the fourth consecutive (Warriors had four 50-win season in their first 67 years of existence). The Warriors already have become the first team to clinch a playoff spot. It’s the second straight season in which the Warriors have clinched a playoff berth in the month of February.
The Warriors are in the midst of a 5-games road trip, tied for their longest road trip of the season (12/7-12/13). All 5 games on the trip are against Eastern Conference opponents. The Warriors have recorded 10 or more steals in 7 consecutive games, the longest such streak in a single season for the Warriors since 1989.
The Warriors have an 18-0 record when preventing an opponent from scoring 100 points this season. Dating back to the 2014-15 campaign, the Warriors have an 85-1 (.988) regular-season record when holding an opponent to fewer than 100 points.
Why Bet on Chicago?How’s this for a streak: In one of the more bizarre minor streaks in sports, the Bulls have won 17 consecutive games on TNT Thursdays at the United Center. It even has its own #TNTBulls hashtag on Twitter. Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson were the only players on the roster who remain from the first game of the streak, which was a 118-111 win over the New York Knicks on April 11, 2013. Butler played 50 minutes in that game. Gibson is no longer with the team – he was traded after Chicago’s most recent TNT Thursday win.
The Bulls extended it to 17 on the Thursday right before the All-Star break with a last-second win over Boston on two Butler free throws. One of Butler’s strengths this season has been at the charity stripe: He’s third in the league in free throws made per game with 8.1, and fourth in free throw attempts per game with 9.4
During the last two years, this Bulls home streak on TNT on Thursday has been even more ridiculous. The last nine home wins on TNT have come against top teams from each respective conference. The Bulls reportedly are considering waiving Michael Carter-Williams or Isaiah Canaan in order to free up the logjam at the point guard position. The Bulls reportedly will not be waiving Rajon Rondo, as they feel he’s a fit with the second unit and they believe they’ll be able to use his contract as a trade chip during the offseason. Chicago has a logjam there after trading for OKC’s Cameron Payne.
How have the Bulls been able to stay near the top of the league for defense this season (7th, 103.1 opponent ppg) while ranking in the bottom half in opponent field goal percentage (23rd, .462)? Opponents do make a lot of field goals against Chicago (39.8, 22nd) – but not 3-pointers (9.1, T-6th) and not free throws (14.3, 1st). By holding opponents to 2-point makes and limiting those “extra/free” points, the Bulls have been able to keep opponents’ scoring in check.
Chicago was destroyed at Golden State earlier this year but the Bulls were without both Butler and Dwyane Wade. The Warriors have won their past two in Chicago.