Life without Kevin Durant, for at least the next few weeks, begins Thursday in Chicago, where the Warriors face the Bulls at United Center.
And, for a night, the Warriors could be without coach Steve Kerr, who wasn’t feeling well Thursday morning and did not attend shootaround. Though Kerr is optimistic about being at the game, according to a Warriors official, should he not make it the team will turn to assistant coach Mike Brown.
Making his Warriors debut will be small forward Matt Barnes, a last-minute addition signed after Durant sustained a knee injury in a loss to the Wizards Tuesday night in Washington.
The Warriors (50-10) will attempt to extend to 147 their NBA-record streak of games without consecutive losses.
The Bulls (30-30) have won four of five but still are coming together in the wake of a trade last week that sent away Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott while adding Joffrey Lauvergne, Anthony Morrow and Cameron Payne.
Warriors by 7.5
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Warriors-Jimmy Butler: No matter who starts at small forward, the Warriors will have their hands full with Butler. It’s conceivable they will do some cross matching, using guard Klay Thompson as well as small forwards Andre Iguodala and Matt Barnes to defend Butler. At 6-foot-7, 238 pounds, he’s too big for rookie Pat McCaw. Containing Chicago’s leading scorer with a compromised lineup will be difficult.
Warriors: F Kevin Durant (L knee sprain, tibial bone bruise) is listed as out. C Damian Jones is on assignment with Santa Cruz of the NBA Development League.
Bulls: G Michael Carter-Williams (L patellar tendinitis) and F Paul Zipser (L ankle tendinitis) are listed as questionable.
Warriors: 7-3. Bulls: 5-5.
The Warriors have won the last three meetings and five of the last seven. They will be trying to sweep the Bulls in back-to-back seasons for the second time ever and the first time since 1999-00 and 2000-01.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
CHASING KOBE AND CHAUNCEY: Coming off two subpar games in a row, Stephen Curry needs two 3-pointers to surpass Kobe Bryant on the all-time list. Curry needs five threes to move past Chauncey Billups and into 10th place on the list.
PROTECT THE PAINT: Ranking last in 3-point shots and makes, the Bulls are built to attack the paint with their variety of slashers, led by Dwyane Wade and Butler. Rim protection always is a priority against Chicago, and Durant’s absence adds urgency. The Warriors will want to close off the driving lanes and force jumpers.
THE RACE TO 100: The Warriors average an NBA-best 118.1 points per game and are 50-8 when they score at least 100, which they have done 36 games in a row. The Bulls are 12-26 when they allow at least 100 points. The math makes a statement.