The Kings crushed the Twolves in the 4th quarter of Sunday’s game but the Bulls aren’t the Twolves. Minnesota is the 5th worse defensive team in the league but the Bulls are the BEST defensive team in the league. Minnesota after their lost to the Kings have the 2nd Worst record in the league and Chicago is tied for the 2nd Best record in the league. While the Kings and Minnesota are both top 6 rebounding teams and the Kings won that battle, Chicago is the #1 rebounding team in the league. So, no one should expect the same type of game as we had against Minnesota when we play Chicago.
The Bulls are 49-19 and tied with Boston for the lead in the East. Chicago is 29-6 at home and they’ve won all 4 of their home games in March. They’ve won 8 of their last 10, beating New Orleans, Atlanta, Utah, and Washington at home and Orlando, Miami, Charlotte, and New Jersey on the road. Their two losses came on the road against Atlanta and Indiana.
Chicago leads the season series 1-0 after beating the Kings in Sacramento 96-85 back on Nov. 27th. The two teams split the 2009 series 1-1, after the Kings made their infamous 35 pt comeback to pull out the win in Chicago.
In the Nov. 27th game, Sacramento jumped out to a halftime lead, 57-44. But, as a Tom Thibodeau coached team is apt to do, the Bulls stepped up the defense in the 2nd half. By the end of the third quarter, the Bulls trimmed the lead down to nine, 76-69, by holding he Kings to 19 pts. Chicago went on a 9-0 run to start the 4th and with 9:05 left they led 78-76. The teams exchanged baskets a few more times and with 6 minutes to play Donte tied the score 83-83. The Bulls then went on an 11-0 run to take a 94-83 lead with 2:07 remaining. The Kings could only manage 2pts on a layup by Cousins in the last 6.02 of the game.
The Kings turned the ball over just two times in the first half and scored 57 points. The Bulls defensive pressure forced the Kings into 13 turnovers in the 2nd half. Chicago limited the Kings to a total of 28 second half points and only 9 in the fourth quarter. The Kings shot just 31.6 percent in the fourth quarter and were outscored 27-9.
Tyreke got off to a hot start with 13 points and six assists in the first half but scored just four points in the second half. DeMarcus Cousins got in foul trouble and scored six points and grabbed five rebounds in just 15 minutes. Thompson led the Kings with 18 points and nine rebounds. Tyreke Evans contributed 17 points, six rebounds, nine assists, one steal, and two blocks. Donte Greene added 13 points and Samuel Dalembert recorded 12 points.
Derrick Rose scored a game-high 30 points and Luol Deng added 22. Rose also recorded seven rebounds, seven assists, and a steal. Chicago turned the Kings 15 turnovers into 21 points and out rebounded the Kings 44 to 43.
But in the end, the game came down to defending without fouling and the Bulls did the better job. The Bulls sent the Kings to the FT line 17 times on 19 fouls, while the Bulls got to the FT line 33 times on 23 fouls by the Kings. Luol Deng, Joakim Noah, and Derrick Rose combined to hit 26 of 31 from the FT line to outscore the Kings by 12 at the charity stripe in the Bulls 11 point victory.
The probable starters for Chicago are Rose and Keith Bogans in the backcourt and Noah, Deng and Kurt Thomas in the frontcourt. Rose is averaging 25 pts/ 7.8 asts/ 4.3 rebs. Bogans has started every game this season, but only averages 4 pts on 38% shooting in just under 18 mpg. Thomas in his 16th season has started the last 4 games in place of Boozer. Thomas has started 34 games replacing Noah and Boozer, and averages 5.3 pts/ 7.5 rebs in 28.6 mpg when starting. Noah has played in only 37 games this season and 13 since December. In the last ten he’s averaging 10 pts/ 9.7 rebs in 30 mpg. Deng is the iron-man having started all 68 games averaging 17.7 pts/ 5.9 rebs in just under 40 mpg.
Kyle Korver, Taj Gibson, Ronnie Brewer, CJ Watson and Omer Asik have all seen action off the bench in 68 games. Asik the 7-0 rookie averages 3 pts/ 4 rbs in 12 mpg at center. Gibson a 6-9 second year player averages 7 pts/ 5.6 rebs at PF. Korver is averaging 8.4 pts/ 2 rebs in just over 20 mpg. Brewer the 6-7 shooting guard averages 6 pts/ 3.3 rebs in 22.5 mpg. While 6-2 PG C.J. Watson averages 5 pts/ 2 asts in 12 minutes backing up Rose. Korver is the real 3-pt threat shooting 42%, but Rose is shooting 33% on over 400 3pt attempts and Deng is shooting 33% on just under 300 attemps.
Chicago hasn’t made any roster changes since we last played while the Kings have added Marcus Thornton. They should also see a different DeMarcus Cousins for the most part has been staying out of foul trouble. Cisco was out of the last game with the flu, so the Bulls will be seeing a much different starting lineup with Dalembert and Beno the only players that will start in both games.
Carlos Boozer was still recovering from offseason surgery in the last game. But since his return he’s averaging 18pts/ 9.6 rebounds. He’s missed the last 4 games with a sprained ankle, and is listed as day-to-day so it’s possible that he might miss this game as well. If he doesn’t play the Kings may have the chance to out rebound the Bulls who are currently 1st in Total Rebounds. The Bulls rely heavily on their defense to hold teams under 100 pts, but when they don’t they are 3-13.
But, no matter who plays, the Kings have no answer for Derrick Rose, who penetrates and gets to the rim 6 times a game or can shot over 40% on the long ball. And, the Kings have shown little ability to beat the press with their ball handling. And, as Iguodola said after the Sixers game, you don’t have to press the Kings very hard; you just have to wait until they turn over the ball all by themselves. The Kings aren’t going to be able to beat the Bulls at their own game, Defense, so they’re going to have to outscore them. They’ll need to improve their shot selection, get 2nd chance points of the offensive glass, and protect the leather. Good luck with that, Sacramento.