OAKLAND -- When the Warriors take on the Chicago Bulls at Oracle Arena Friday night, Golden State will officially embark on the second half of the regular season.
With a record of 27-14 through the first 41 games, the Warriors know they've yet to play up to their potential. They're "only" on pace for a 54-win season, which would be their worst record in the Steve Kerr era.
"We talked about that at the beginning of the year, breaking the season down into quarters, if you will," Steph Curry said following Friday's shootaround. "We're in the third one now ... we haven't played great, consistently great."
Friday's game serves as a fitting demarcation between what lies behind Golden State and what lies ahead, not just due to the start of a new 'quarter,' but also due to the opposition.
Chicago enters Friday's game with a record of 10-31 -- tied for third-worst in the league and the same as that of the Knicks, whom the Warriors made quick work of in a 122-95 victory on Tuesday. This is essentially the same Bulls team Golden State beat 149-124 back on Oct. 29, thanks in large part to an NBA-record 14 3-pointers from Klay Thompson.
But after Friday's matchup against the lowly Bulls, the schedule gets considerably tougher for the two-time defending champs.
The Warriors are set to embark on one of their hardest stretches of the season, with seven of the next eight games on the road against battle-tested teams. After Friday's game vs. Chicago, the Dubs play the Mavericks, Nuggets, Pelicans, Clippers, Lakers, Wizards, Celtics and Pacers.
The only home game in that bunch -- Jan. 16 vs. New Orleans -- is on the back end of a back-to-back.
That stretch will take the Warriors up to the end of January, and at that point, they'll be just a handful of games away from the All-Star break.
As such, Friday presents a great opportunity to kickstart the third quarter of their season against an opponent they possess a considerable talent advantage over.
"We want to string some games together where we put a nice little win streak together," Curry said. "We've talked about it a couple times, but we haven't been able to do it. So why not now?"
Why not now, indeed.