OAKLAND, Calif. — The Golden State Warriors get an opportunity to do what they do best Friday night when they follow a loss with a game against the Chicago Bulls.
The Warriors will be coming off a 108-91 setback at Oklahoma City when they open a three-game homestand against a Bulls’ team that will be attempting to avoid a winless four-game Western swing.
The loss to the Thunder was the Warriors’ fifth of the season. On the first four occasions, Golden State won their next game, beating New Orleans, Dallas, the Los Angeles Clippers and Philadelphia by an average of 18.5 points per game.
The trend is not unique to this season. In the Steve Kerr regime dating back to the start of the 2014-15 season, the Warriors have gone 36-7 in the game following a loss.
The Bulls handed the Warriors one of those seven defeats last March. Coming off a 112-108 loss at Washington, the Warriors were beaten 94-87 at Chicago.
The Bulls are one of only four Eastern Conference teams that have beaten the Warriors multiple times since Kerr has taken over as coach. They also had a 113-111 overtime win at Golden State in 2015.
The Warriors are coming off a 2-2 trip. They hurt themselves with turnovers in the losses at Boston and Oklahoma City, committing a total of 37 giveaways in those games.
Golden State ranks 28th in the NBA in turnover per game with 17.1.
After Wednesday’s loss, Kerr accepted some of the blame for the teams’ often sloppy play this season.
“I have to do a better job to get them ready to play,” he said. “We have a pretty loose, fun atmosphere around here. That’s great. But there’s certain times we have to be like, ‘All right guys. Let’s throw it to our team. Let’s execute the play. Let’s remember the play.’ It’s those kind of things. I think right now we’re in a little bit of a rut where we have to focus.”
Stephen Curry had six turnovers against the Thunder and 19 total on the trip.
The Bulls have problems of their own. They have averaged just 93.0 points in their trip-opening losses to Phoenix, the Los Angeles Lakers and Utah.
Chicago shot just 39.2 percent from the field and 30.1 percent on 3-pointers in the defeats. The Bulls rank last in the NBA in field-goal percentage at 41.0.
On the bright side, rookie big man Lauri Markkanen had his fourth and fifth double-doubles of the season against the Suns and Lakers, recording a season-high for points at Phoenix with 26 and a season-high for rebounds at Los Angeles with 14.
Acquired by the Bulls from Minnesota as part of the Jimmy Butler trade, Markkanen has been working on being more of a factor around the hoop after beginning his career as predominantly a perimeter shooter.
“That’s definitely a personal goal for me, just to change the game, be one of those top guys,” he said before Wednesday’s game at Utah. “That’s ultimately where I want to be at.”