Bulls

The Bulls are 14-7 in their last 21 games, but now comes measuring stick time

Zach LaVine would love to play in the fourth quarter Wednesday night against Golden State. The Bulls guard, however, knows that’s not in the cards, as he remains on a minutes restriction after returning from a torn ACL.

“That’s just something I’ve gotta deal with right now,’’ LaVine said before practice Tuesday. “I shouldn’t have got hurt in the first place. That’s just how I feel.’’

Good news, Zach. In all likelihood the fourth quarter might not matter much.

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Golden State will enter the United Center as winners of 13 consecutive road games. They have won NBA titles in two of the past three years, and with a 36-9 record this season, a third championship is all but certain.

The Warriors are a dynasty in every sense of the word, a historic team that every other organization is chasing.

“I mean, what they do is just different than what any other team has done before, especially with the type of players they have and the system they use,’’ LaVine said. “It’s hard to simulate that, especially for another team to do it in the same era. It’s definitely a team you look up to.

“But you can’t look up to them too much because you’re competing with them and trying to beat them as well. You have to pick out what they do not so good so you can go attack that.’’

A plan that didn’t work out so well in the first meeting in late November.

Yes, the Bulls were without Nikola Mirotic and LaVine, but a 143-94 loss was devastating no matter who was in uniform.

“Absolutely, they are a historic team,’’ coach Fred Hoiberg said. “You look at a couple years ago when they were 73-9 and then you add Kevin Durant to the picture. Yeah, when they’re healthy and they’re hitting shots, there’s not a lot you can do.’’

The hope is they aren’t all hitting their shots. The other hope is that the Bulls’ 14-7 record over their  last 21 games is an upward trend that carries some weight. At least more weight than it did in the first meeting.

“You’ll have to catch them on an off game or something like that,’’ LaVine said when asked about the Warriors’ weaknesses. “You have to keep it close and play the right way. You can’t make many mistakes.’’

But that’s easier said than done.

Coincidentally, the Bulls, like many of the other teams these days, have been trying to copy the Warriors’ model as much as possible:  Space and pace, smaller more versatile bigs, shoot the three and if it is not falling, shoot it some more.

It is that style of play that has gone a long way in the recent success Hoiberg and his players have experienced.

Realistically, though, only so much of the Warriors’ offense can be copied.

“I think it’s something everybody strives for, but they’ve got the talent out there just to be in certain situations and positions that not a lot of other teams can do,’’ Hoiberg said. “The thing you look at is their movement and their pace and their unselfishness and that’s what you try to emulate. A lot of teams are trying to do it, but again, to give yourself a chance just based on what you have on your roster, sometimes you can’t play that way.’’

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Email: jcowley@suntimes.com