After absorbing a 26-point drubbing at the hands of the visiting Brooklyn Nets late Wednesday night, the Eastern Conference-leading Chicago Bulls had a one-day buffer before the West-contending Golden State Warriors came to town Friday.
To Bulls leading scorer DeMar DeRozan, the key to regrouping — and recouping — lies in embracing reality. Yes, the Bulls allowed a 22-0 run spanning the third and fourth quarters that allowed Brooklyn to pull away, but they’re still the same Chicago team that boasted the NBA’s third-best winning percentage entering Thursday.
“It’s how we bounce back from it,” DeRozan said. “Let it sink in, let it suck, let it hurt. It seemed like everything went wrong; obviously, it had to with the run they went on. Everything was on us. We’re going to get every team’s best shot.”
Coming off Thursday’s 118-99 road loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, Golden State presents an especially stiff test. The Warriors tout a nine-game winning streak against the Bulls, including a run of four straight victories in Chicago.
Chicago’s Zach LaVine called the Brooklyn loss “something to get you a little more hungry.” Coach Billy Donovan agrees.
“I don’t think you throw it out, I think you own it,” Donovan said. “I think our guys have worked really hard up to this point to be where we are in the standings, and I think with that there’s an even greater responsibility.
“We have to understand and learn that these are some of the things I’ve been talking about from a defensive standpoint. … I’m not saying we didn’t want to win the game but we have to understand how to play in games like this.”
Golden State, which has lost four of five, and trailed 77-38 at the break at Milwaukee.
“We just got off to a terrible start where everything went wrong on both ends of the floor,” said Steph Curry, who was limited to 12 points.
Andrew Wiggins scored 16 points to lead Golden State.
“I know we just got our butts kicked, but we’re just in a rough patch in our season,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “It happens to every team every year, pretty much, with very few exceptions. We’re in a little bit of a rut and we were playing a team that was ready and played a great, great first half. We’re a little out of sort. We’ve just got to get back on track, and we will.”
Kerr said the Warriors planned to rest Klay Thompson on Friday, as they look to avoid using him in back-to-backs in the initial phases of his return. Thompson has played in three games after returning from a 2 1/2-year absence with a torn ACL and an injury to his Achilles tendon.
The Bulls will be down a starter at forward for two to four weeks, as Derrick Jones Jr. suffered bone bruising after hyperextending his right knee in the opening minute against Brooklyn.
Curry sparked Golden State to a 119-93 home win against Chicago on Nov. 12, scoring 40 points on 15-for-24 shooting — including 9-for-17 accuracy from deep. No foe has scored more points against the Bulls this season. LaVine led Chicago with 23 points.