So, how many big games have the Sacramento Kings ever played against the Chicago Bulls? I can't remember any.
Tonight is huge, though. A win - a road win - would be fantastically inspiring, without doubt. The Kings went a dreadful 1-5 on that last six game road trip, and have lost their only two road games since. Meanwhile, they've bookended all that madness with eight straight home wins.
Rejecting the dissociative identity disorder plaguing this team on the road is an absolute key to making a run for playoffs. With so many remaining games outside Natomas, at least a smidgeon of road pride is more than necessary. This team cannot make the playoffs with getting about a half-dozen more road wins. The tasks remaining are rarely easier than Chicago.
A split on this back-to-back (the Kings are at Memphis tomorrow) is fine. A sweep is stellar, two losses is a nightmare. A road win the week prior to the All-Star break wouldn't be so necessary if the team hadn't started so poorly. But they did, so it is.
At a rested Memphis on the back end of a two-in-two, that's a tough game. It's not impossible - the Kings looked mostly good in a win over the Grizzez last week. But that was at ARCO, where the Kings are scorching. And Memphis was on a downturn. They've been a skosh better since. And they, like the Kings, are substantially better at home.
So we're left then with tonight, a massively huge game in the United Center. BULLS! KINGS! FEBRUARY! It's the NBA on CSN!
To the lineups!
PG - Kirk "How did I end up being a better pro than Drew Gooden AND Nick Collison?" Hinrich
SG - Ben "Second Team All Huskie?" Gordon
SF - Luol "Deng, I wish I could make decent punchlines including this dude's name"
PF - The Big "Oh, Othella Harrington is still in the league?"
C - Tyson Chandler, a poor offense-less man's Dikembe.
PG - Mini-Mike
SG - Speedracer
SF - Mr. Beast
PF - Kenneth Cornelius
C - The Congressman
The line: Pick. Had the Kings pulled off the Suns game, they'd be 5-point favorites. Easy.
Fun bet o' the night: Some sort of cheesy Valentine's Day theme including in CSN's opening package, starting promptly at 5:30 p.m. PST? +150. (I've only enjoyed one of the several dozen CSN opening package I've seen. That's not good, is it?)
Sideshow most likely to be entertaining: Any Artestian love left in Chi-town? I have no clue. For what it's worth, this is Ron-Ron's first game in the Midwest since the trade request. Don't know if that means anything. I'm generally looking forward to Artest though.
Best matchup: Kevin Martin vs. Ben Gordon. We know what happened last time: the world met Speedracer. Encore?
We did a Goal Tracker update this morning, so scroll down to catch that.
Let's go Kings! Win one for the charter pilot!