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Kings vs. Bulls Preview: Grab the game by the horns

The Kings have an opportunity to make another move in the Western Conference standings tonight. 

Chicago Bulls v Sacramento Kings Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

The chaos of the Thanksgiving weekend is officially over. All of the leftovers have been eaten or tossed, including that last little bit of yogurt pie you hid in the back of the fridge, your bank account is drained from all of those Black Friday purchases, and you found out your new television posted for a cheaper price on Cyber Monday anyway. And even worse: you’re back in the office today. What meaningless exercise could get you out of your funk as you stare at your computer screen and try to figure out a way to pretend to work until Christmas comes around? How about some Sacramento Kings basketball!

When: Monday, December 2nd, 7:00 PST

Where: Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, CA


Radio: KHTK Sports 1140 AM

For Your Consideration

The Chicago Bulls aren’t exactly a good team, despite their favorable offseason projections. They’ve managed to pick up six wins on the season, but those victories have come against the Grizzlies, the Pistons (twice), the Hawks, the Knicks, and the Hornets. The combined record of those opponents is 29-71, and not a single one of those teams currently sit above .500. For the moment, we’ll ignore the fact that the King don’t exactly have a winning record themselves.

Zach LaVine, Vlade Divac’s $78 million man, is the tour de force in Jim Boylen’s bizarro interpretation of a modern NBA game plan. The combo guard leads the Bulls in scoring at 22.2 points per game, and he’s developed into one of the better volume three-point shooters in the NBA, knocking in over 40% of his 7.4 attempts per game. Expect to see Cory Joseph, Harrison Barnes, and even Trevor Ariza or Justin James try to slow him down, and for Sacramento’s sake, all should hope that Buddy Hield isn’t granted the same opportunity to defend his shooting guard counterpart. Outside of LaVine, Chicago doesn’t employ any other dynamic scorers, hence their 29th ranked offensive rating at 102.9 points per 100 possessions. Lauri Markkanen, a third-year player who looked like one of the steals of the 2017 draft, has regressed severely this season, dropping down to 13 points on average and a miserable 35% shooting from the field and 28% accuracy from deep. Wendell Carter, a solid defensive presence in the middle, will join Markkanen up front, while Tomas Satoransky and Chandler Hutchison will likely fill out Chicago’s starting lineup.

No team should be overlooked and no victory should be assumed in the NBA, but tonight’s contest is the perfect example of the kind of game playoff contenders win, and win handily. The Kings are more talented, can utilize their much deeper bench at key points in the evening, and their coaching staff is simply better. They’ll need to continue to focus on the defensive end of the floor, the primary cause of their recent surge in the standings, as well as knock down open three-point shots, an area of inconsistency for this roster. If the Kings can stick to their game plan and not get sucked into isolation scoring attempts, they should pick up their ninth win of the season.


Buddy Hield plays like he has something to prove against Zach LaVine and scores more than 30 points, Harrison Barnes enjoys another monster game against Chicago’s unimpressive wings, and Dewayne Dedmon knocks down four three-pointers for the Kings. In the postgame press conference, Jim Boylen continues to tell himself he’s doing wonderfully, and Bulls management continues to support him.

Kings 109, Bulls 96