Warriors

Can Warriors push Bobcats' losing streak to 14?

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Can Warriors push Bobcats' losing streak to 14?

Programming note: Bobcats-Warriors coverage begins on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area with Warriors Pregame Live  at 7 p.m. Stick around after the final buzzer for Warriors Postgame Live.

There will be letdowns.

The Golden State Warriors, as good as they’ve been, are still strides away from elite and even the elite teams have disappointments.

After taking their second loss to the Sacramento Kings this season on Wednesday night, the Warriors return home to Oracle tonight to face the Charlotte Bobcats at 7:30 p.m.

Coming off the team’s worst defensive performance of the season in a 131-127 loss to Sacramento, the Warriors will face the Charlotte Bobcats, the league’s worst defensive team.

The Bobcats are ranked dead last in points allowed this season at 104.4 per game. The Warriors are coming off Wednesday night’s season-high in points.

Taking the easy wins

Mark Jackson made it clear the other night that it was ridiculous to think the Warriors were playing down to anyone, noting after the loss to the Kings that his team “can be beaten by the best and can be beaten by the worst.”

Of the Warriors eight losses, five have come to teams with a record of .500 or less.

The Bobcats (7-18) are one of the East's worst teams and have lost 13 consecutive games entering tonight.

“Don’t have an excuse for it,” Klay Thompson said in his postgame interview in Sacramento. “Teams that we know that we’re better than, we’ve beat much better teams, some of the best in the league. So there’s no excuse.

“We’re going to have bad games. It’s a long season. It’s only December. We’re just going to keep our heads up.”

The Warriors are 10-2 against the Eastern Conference this season. A game such as tonight’s at home vs. Charlotte is essential in the Warriors' quest for that elusive spot in the playoffs.

Legs of Harrison Barnes
 
The enhanced grind of an NBA seasons isn't bothering Harrison Barnes.

Of course it's still early, but the Warriors have played eight of their last nine games on the road. For even young legs, that would seem to be an adjustment for the Warriors' first-round pick.

“It’s definitely easier being young,” the 20-year old Barnes said. “You’re always ready to go, always look forward to the next game. The back-to-backs don’t affect you as much, as you get older it probably has a bigger toll on your body.”

Barnes has averaged just 6.9 points and 3.4 rebounds in 24.1 minutes per game in December. The rookie had averaged 10.4 points and 4.9 rebounds in 28.1 minutes in November.

His last big game came to end the seven-game road trip, in Atlanta, when he scored 19 points on 8-for-14 shooting in 31 minutes.

David Lee keeps rolling

David Lee has a streak of 10 consecutive games with 20 or more points, the longest of his career and active behind only LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony.

Lee has been the team’s most consistent player, averaging 19..8 points and 11.2 rebounds per game this season.

Follow @jimmypspencer on Twitter for Warriors news and analysis

Spurs star Kawhi Leonard out indefinitely

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AP

Spurs star Kawhi Leonard out indefinitely

NEW YORK — The San Antonio Spurs say Kawhi Leonard will be out indefinitely as he continues his recovery from a leg injury.

Leonard has played in just nine games after missing the beginning of the season because of right quadriceps tendinopathy. He also was sidelined briefly because of a shoulder injury.

Spurs general manager RC Buford said Wednesday that Leonard has made significant progress in his recovery but "this is the best approach for the next steps in his return to play."

The All-Star forward is averaging 16.2 points this season for the Spurs, who play the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night.

Gameday: Look for Curry to make statement against rising Bulls point guard

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USATSI

Gameday: Look for Curry to make statement against rising Bulls point guard

The Warriors will be without Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala, when they aim to tie a franchise record for consecutive road wins Wednesday as they face the improving Chicago Bulls at United Center.

Coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 4 p.m., with tipoff scheduled for 5:05.

In seeking their 14th straight road win, the Warriors (36-9) will be confronting quite a different herd of Bulls than the team they crushed 143-94 two months ago in Oakland. Neither Kevin Durant nor Green was available in that rout, which that was the highest point total allowed by the Bulls since November 1990.

After a 3-20 start, the Bulls (17-27) righted themselves with a seven-game win streak in December and have won 14 of their last 21. The offense has steadily improved, averaging 94.5 points in October/November to 112.0 in January.

BETTING LINE

Warriors by 8

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Stephen Curry vs. Kris Dunn: Several factors are responsible for the rise of the Bulls, but none may be more important than the play of Dunn, the fifth overall pick in the 2016 draft. Acquired in the June 2017 trade that sent Jimmy Butler to Minnesota, Dunn is the engine of a Chicago offense that since Dec. 6 has operated at the fifth-fastest pace in the NBA. He averaged 12.0 points and 8.4 assists over the last five games. Curry missed most of December but has been playing well since returning. He loves the challenge of a rising point guard. He’ll be out to make a statement.

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: F Draymond Green (R shoulder soreness) and F Andre Iguodala (L calf contusion) are listed as out.

Bulls: G Cameron Payne (R foot surgery) is listed as out.

LAST 10

Warriors: 8-2.

Bulls: 5-5.

GAME OFFICIALS

Ron Garretson (crew chief), Mark Ayotte, Scott Twardoski

SERIES HISTORY

The Warriors won the first of two meetings this season, 143-94, on Nov. 24 in Oakland. The teams split the series last season, each winning on its own floor. The Warriors have won six of the last nine meetings overall.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

KD UNLEASHED: Since returning Jan. 10, after a three-game absence, Durant has been on a tear, averaging 30.8 points on 62.5-percent shooting, including 60 percent from beyond the arc. Most teams don’t have anyone that matches up with him, and the Bulls certainly don’t. The closest is Lauri Markkanen, and though he has the length (7 feet), he has no chance of slowing Durant. All indications point to another big night.

THE BOMBERS: Chicago has made at least 10 3-pointers in each of its last nine home games, the longest such streak in franchise history. They’ve made at least 15 treys in each of the last three games. Rookie forward Markkanen drilled his 100th career triple in his 41st game, the fastest rate in league history. He averaged 23.0 points over his last three games, making 15 3-pointers in the process. With Green out, the Warriors will give him a variety of looks, with one of them being Durant.

WARRIORS DEPTH: The absence of Green and Iguodala will hurt the Warriors, who are playing their fourth game in six nights. Jordan Bell will start for Green, but the Warriors will have to alter their offense -- Green leads team in assists -- while patching together a defense that will be without two players that make an impact on that end. Omri Casspi, Kevon Looney and Pat McCaw will have opportunities.