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Game Thread #3: Bulls vs Sacramento Kings

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So maybe Dwight Howard personally stomped on your Bulls Kool-aid glass, but neither the game against Orlando nor the happiest night ever (aka the Miami game) means that much.

One thing I'll be looking for tonight is not only will the defense come back to form, but can they score when the defense does give up a basket? Maybe it's because of all the new faces, but it seemed against Miami that the Bulls scored so easily because they were getting out in transition so often. Against a hot-shooting team like Orlando on Wednesday, they weren't able run smoothly in a true half-court setting. Here's Skiles:

We have eight new faces. We know there's a possibility that our offense could be a little inconsistent early in the year because of that. Just timing issues and getting people on the same page and all that. But the defense, as much as we work on it, there's no excuse for that.

We need our defense to create scoring opportunities for us in our early offense,We just didn't get enough of those. I believe we had 14, 15 fewer fast breaks than [Tuesday].

Now obviously the Bulls are built to get easier points off of their great D, but I hope scoring is not entirely reliant on that.

In injury news, Tyrus Thomas is a maybe, Chris Duhon is go for launch.

Blogging with the Enemy: Sactown Royalty

(ooooh, a SBNation grudge-match. This isn't a well known fact, but the blog rep of the losing team has to take a shot of Skol at the next corporate retreat)

Back to the defense, which not only should be better tonight due to it being the home opener, having more energy, all that...stuff, but also because the Kings have a more traditional (as in, do not have a monster like Dwight Howard) frontcourt. My Man Sam(tm) had a great point about how Howard was such a poor matchup:

Wallace's strength always has been his activity and hustle. But he probably is little more than 6 feet 7 inches tall. Howard is about 6-11 and has tension springs in his legs. One of the Bulls' biggest defensive strengths is the way they front the post against big guys, denying passes and making movement difficult.
"We knew we'd be able to use the lob," Howard said.

It was devastating as Howard got in behind the defense, spun around Wallace or Brown when he had the ball and dunked. He was too much for Wallace.

As far as matchups tonight, watch if Artest guards Gordon, and hopefully Gordon doesn't compound the matchup problem by getting forced into turnovers, even if it is at the expense of him getting that many open looks tonight. Also look for Tom's boyfriend, Kevin Martin. If Artest is busy with Gordon maybe this will be a good game for Deng and Noc to get back on track against him, but offensively Martin is dangerous.

This is an open game thread, and just because it's Friday night, nobody will think you're a nerd if you leave a comment or two...