Durant to miss extended time
After a January of discontent, the Bulls suddenly find themselves in a much better place as a group. Will Fred Hoiberg’s troops keep the momentum going against the Kevin Durant-less Warriors?
The two teams collide this evening, with an 8 p.m. ET tip in the Windy City. Online sports book Bovada.lv gives Golden State odds of -325 to take care of business on the road. Conversely, Chicago represents a +263 underdog.
Not long ago, a number of Bulls (30-30) standouts seemed more interested in trading barbs on social media than vying for an Eastern Conference postseason spot. Yet Dwayne Wade & Co. carried a four-game winning streak into Tuesday’s meeting with Denver. While Chicago absorbed a 125-107 loss to the Nuggets, it boasts an 18-12 record at home.
The Warriors (50-10), of course, now must compete without their leading scorer for (probably) the rest of the regular campaign. Durant suffered a Grade 2 MCL sprain and a tibial bone bruise in the team’s last contest. His absence clearly puts greater pressure on Stephen Curry, who’s averaging 26.5 points since the All-Star break, and fellow Splash Brother Klay Thompson to crank up the heroics.
Speaking of marquee offensive contributors, Hoiberg hopes Jimmy Butler can turn things around sooner rather than later. The Bulls’ recent success has masked No. 21’s unexpectedly poor play. Butler’s shooting just 36.8 percent over his past seven tilts. Such iffiness from the floor won’t fly vs. the Dubs, who are 24-7 away from Oracle Arena.