Programming note: Warriors-Bulls coverage kicks off tonight at 7 PT on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area
It would have been very easy for Warriors forward David Lee to say the team isn't worried about what is going on elsewhere in the NBA and that it's only focused on what it can control.
Except that would be a lie.
With 16 games left in the regular season, the Warriors are in full-on, scoreboard-watching mode -- at least before and after their games.
"I would be lying to you if I said we weren't," said Lee after Wednesday's win against Detroit. "We were all watching the Utah game, the Lakers game, the Houston game while we're getting warmed up in here for our game. That's what's fun. I've been on a lot of teams at this point where you're just waiting for the season to get over."
That scoreboard watching isn't limited to teams in the Western-Conference playoff race. Lee was certainly aware how poor a showing Friday's opponent, Chicago, turned in Wednesday in a 121-79 loss at Sacramento. The Bulls fell behind by 34 points in the first half in what Bulls forwards Carlos Boozer referred to as "embarrassing."
Does that embarrassment translate to an improved focus Friday at Oracle Arena? Lee thinks so.
"They're going to be ready to play and now I think they're going to have some added incentive," he said.
The same might be said about Golden State, which trailed wire-to-wire at Chicago in a 103-97 loss to the Bulls on Jan. 25. Chicago, which won the rebounding battle 56-37, led by as many as 26 before the Warriors closed the gap. Jimmy Butler (16 points, 12 rebounds), Carlos Boozer (15 points, 13 rebounds) and all-star Joakim Noah (14 points, 16 rebounds) all had double-doubles.
After a practice Thursday at Oracle, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau left the for the slight chance that Derrick Rose could make his season-debut against the Warriors.
“We’ll see [Friday],’’ said Thibodeau, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “With him, it’s just day-to-day. He had a good day [Thursday], went hard, did a lot of stuff, but we’ll see.’’
Rose, who at 22-years-old was named the league MVP following the 2010-2011 season, tore his left ACL in the Bulls' playoff-opener last year against Philadelphia and has not played this season. Rose has been practicing since January, but said he won't return to games until he feels completely comfortable. Thibodeau clarified that his comment did not indicate a change in Rose's situation.
“It hasn’t changed,’’ Thibodeau said. “It could be in a couple of days; it could be in a week. I don’t know when it is; he doesn’t know when it is. As I said to you guys [Wednesday], I think he was very forthcoming with [the media]. That’s where he is. He’s got to feel real comfortable; he’s got to feel the explosion is there. He’s made great progress, and we don’t know when that time is."
Warriors coach Mark Jackson is hoping Rose returns to action soon.
"High-character guy. Great player. He's their best player and their leader," Jackson said. "He can carry them. That's the impact he can make. As a fan, you hope he returns soon because he's one of the best in the game. Not just point guards, players."
The Bulls will also be without Kirk Hinrich, Taj Gibson and Richard Hamilton, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Warriors rookie Draymond Green is questionable with a bone bruise (left ankle). He sustained the injury in the second quarter against Detroit and did not return.
"It's doing much better, but we'll see how he is later," Jackson said.