The start of a four-game road trip didn't go as planned for the Golden State Warriors, who will get back to work Saturday night against the Milwaukee Bucks at the Bradley Center.
The Warriors opened the eastern junket with Friday's 103-87 loss against the Chicago Bulls, who raced out to a 31-13 lead after the first quarter. All-Star David Lee totaled 23 points and Stephen Curry scored 21 for Golden State, which had a three-game winning streak come to an end.
"We were a step slow and they were more physical," Curry said.
Golden State fell to 13-4 against the Eastern Conference this season and 12-10 away from Oakland. It had been 6-1 on the road against the East before the matchup with the Bulls. The team's 12 road wins are more than it has had on the road in any of the last four seasons.
The Warriors are fifth in the West standings and will also visit Toronto and Cleveland on the current road swing. They went 6-1 on a season-long seven-game Eastern Conference odyssey from Dec. 5-15.
Milwaukee had a three-game winning streak stopped as well on Friday night as it sustained a 113-108 loss at Cleveland.
Ersan Ilyasova poured in 30 points and grabbed seven rebounds for the Bucks, who lost for the third time in the last nine tries. The Cavaliers were down, 21-18, after the first 12 minutes, then scored 30-plus points in each of the last three quarters (32,31,32) to pull out the win.
"We got a little bit of a lead, but then they did what they do best; giving guys the ball and letting them work on the top of the floor," Bucks coach Jim Boylan said of the Cavs' comeback. "They kind of had their way with us."
Monta Ellis scored 21 points and dished out nine assists, while Brandon Jennings finished with 14 points and 12 assists. Meanwhile, Ilyasova has scored 27-plus points in his last three games, averaging 28.0 ppg over that time. Larry Sanders had 14 points, 11 boards and two blocks against the Cavs, and has at least one block in 28 games in a row.
The Bucks look to move three games above .500 at home (11-9) and will visit Central Division-rival Detroit on Tuesday.
Milwaukee prevailed in the only meeting with Golden State last season, a 120-98 blowout in Oakland. The Bucks have won five of six over the Warriors and three straight as the host in this series.