The Bulls are 8th in scoring and score 3pts more than they give up on average. The Kings are just the opposite, giving up 6 pts more than they are scoring. So, this looks to be an easy 9-10 point victory for the Bulls. The Bulls are on par with the Clippers at scoring at the rim and even better at scoring inside 10ft. Which doesn’t bode well for the Kings since the Clippers shot 81% inside 10ft against the Kings. Plus the Bulls are a better 3pt shooting team than the Kings. Defensively, Chicago is #1 in out rebounding their opponents, 4th in blocks per game and 9th in steals.
The Bulls lead the Central Division with an 8-6 record and are already 6-4 against Western Conference opponents. And, their 3-5 road record is better than the Kings 2-6 home record. So far in November, Chicago has already beaten Portland, Denver, Golden State, Houston, Dallas, & Phoenix. Their losses to the West include a one point lost in Denver last night and losses to LAL & SAS. Derrick Rose, who has been averaging 26.3 points, missed Friday night’s game in Denver due to a stiff neck. It's the first game Rose has missed this season But, Forward Taj Gibson returned to the lineup last night after missing one game with an injured right ankle. Bull’s forward Carlos Boozer, who has yet to play this season due to a broken hand, still isn’t expects to return to practice until Monday.
So, my guess as to who will start for Chicago is Joakim Noah at center, Taj Gibson at PF, Luol Deng at SF, Keith Bogans at SG and Derrick Rose at PG unless he can’t play due to his injured neck. In which case, C.J. Watson will probably start at PG. Which would be a major stroke of luck for the Kings since Watson is averaging just under 5 ppg & 2 assists in 13 mpg this season. And, has a career average of 8.4 pts / 2.4 assists in 22.5 mpg, far below Roses average this season of 26.3 pts / 8.3 assists in 39 mpg.
Paul Westphal continues to shuffle around his players, making matchups hard to guess but here goes. Gibson the 6-9 PF starting his 2nd season with the Bulls, averages about 12pts and 7.5 rebs per game, shooting only 50% from the field and under 70% from the FT line. He poses no threat from the 3 pt. line having only attempted 2 in his career. He should be a good match-up for Carl although I would give Carl the edge.
Noah is coming into his own. He’s 2nd in Rebs per Game, 2nd in Offensive rebs per game, and 3rd in Defensive rebounds per game. And, he’s averaging 15pts, 1.5 blks and 1.3 steals in 36 mpg. He’s quick, mobile and can play some good defense. He is going to be a handful for Dalembert let alone Cousins.
Deng is averaging almost 19 pts, 6.5 rebs, and 1 steal and 1 block per game. He gets to the basket almost as often as Tyreke and scores on 55% of his shots there. And, he takes almost as many shots from 3pt range with around the same shooting percentage. He’s someone that a lot of people wish we had as our starting SF. And, after this game we’ll have a good idea how Omri & Donte stack up. I really think that they’ll do better than most people expect.
Bogans is a 6-5 SG in his 8th season and with his 7th team if you count his 2 stops in Orlando. Not tremendously athletic but good strength for a shooting guard. A very solid defender who uses his strength to his advantage and has the technique to stay in front of his man and knows how to box out. He’s only averaging about 5 pts and 3 rebs, and is only shooting 29% from 3pt range but has been a career 35% three pt shooter. If the Kings decide to double on Rose here is where the double will come from.
I’m not going to discuss Rose since everyone knows about him already, except to say that he possess another great challenge for Luther. Let’s hope that Luther’s main challenge will be Watson. If that’s the case our backcourt will have a field day.
This wasn’t one of the teams that I gave the Kings much chance of winning before the season started. But, with the possibility of Rose playing injured or out all together, and Boozer still not having played due to injury, this could be the right time and the right place to steal a win. My match-up of the game will be Donte vs. Deng. Go Kings.
Edit: Bull's Game Note as of Saturday morning has Gibson (right ankle) & Rose (stiff neck) listed as questionable.