Programming note: Warriors-Bulls coverage starts Saturday at 4:30 p.m. with Warriors Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area (territory restrictions apply)
The Warriors, the hottest team in the NBA, will be going after a franchise-record 12th consecutive win Saturday when the face the Bulls at United Center in Chicago.
Though the Warriors (16-2) have been impressive throughout their 11-game win streak, they've not seen a team with the ability and size of Bulls (12-7), who are relatively healthy.
Warriors by 1.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
Stephen Curry vs. Derrick Rose. Rose, coming off three seasons stolen by injury, is the last point guard to win the MVP award (2010-11). Curry is generating considerable momentum for the next award. Rose is an explosive slasher, while Curry is relies on nuance and incredible shooting.
Klay Thompson vs. Jimmy Butler. This is that rare instance in which the 6-7 Thompson faces someone of the same height and the ability to match him at either end of the court. Thompson in October signed a $69 million extension. Butler, who at the same time turned down a $40 million extension, will be highly motivated.
Andrew Bogut vs. Joakim Noah. The reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Noah is the league's most hyperactive big man. Bogut's task will be to keep him off the glass and contain his relentless energy, while pulling him out of the paint on defense.
Harrison Barnes/Draymond Green vs. Pau Gasol. Gasol's length (7 feet) makes him a tough cover for anybody. Barnes and Green likely will take turns trying to keep a forehead on Gasol's chin.
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KEYS TO VICTORY:
1) Shield the glass. Gasol and Noah are the top rebounding duo in the league. The Warriors will have to counter than with strong team rebounding.
2) Slay 'em with treys. The Bulls have not defended at their usual suffocating level, particularly on the outer perimeter. The Warriors are equipped to exploit that.
3) Windy City sprints. Those 3-pointers will be that much easier if the Warriors can crank up their devastating fast break and fire in transition.
Warriors – F David Lee (strained left hamstring) is out indefinitely.
Bulls – F Taj Gibson (left ankle) is out. F Doug McDermott (right knee) is questionable.
The teams have split the season series in 10 of the last 13 years overall, but the Warriors have lost eight of the last 12 meetings.