Two-time NBA MVP Steph Curry has missed the past five games with the Golden State Warriors due to a bruised tailbone, but he was able to practice in full Sunday and has been upgraded to questionable for Monday's home game against the Chicago Bulls – who are listing leading scorer and All-Star Zach LaVine as well as fellow starter Lauri Markkanen as probable with minor injuries. The Bulls opened as 4.5-point favorites on the William Hill Sportsbook NBA odds, but that has dropped to -2.5 with Curry perhaps playing.
Curry is having an MVP-caliber season, although he's not going to win it again because his team isn't great. He's averaging 29.0 points (third in the league and second-highest in his career) along with 6.2 assists and 5.3 rebounds. In the past five games without Curry, the Warriors rank 23rd in offensive rating (108.2), 26th in defensive rating (116.9) and 29th in net rating (minus-8.8). They are 1-4 in that stretch and each loss was by at least eight points; overall this season, they are 1-6 when Curry doesn't play.
That Curry practiced fully Sunday seems to indicate he will play, but the Warriors want to see how his body responded to that first. The Dubs currently sit 10th in the Western Conference, which would get them into the play-in tournament. However, they are just a game ahead of 11th-place Sacramento and 1.5 games up on No. 12 New Orleans.
The Warriors have won seven in a row vs. Chicago. They were 3.5-point favorites in the Windy City on Dec. 27 and won 129-128 behind 36 points from Curry and a Damion Lee three-pointer with 1.7 seconds left. Lee was the third option on the play behind Curry and Andrew Wiggins.
LaVine had 33 points for the Bulls and Markkanen 22. That they are listed as probable means they should be in there Monday. LaVine is sixth in the NBA in scoring at 27.9 ppg. The Bulls had trade talks ahead of last Thursday's trade deadline on Markkanen but clearly didn't find an offer they liked.
Chicago did make one major deal in landing Magic All-Star center Nikola Vucevic. He debuted Saturday, but the Bulls lost their third in a row, 120-104 at home vs. San Antonio. Vucevic had 21 points and nine rebounds.
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