It’s been a troubling mini West Coast road trip for the Chicago Bulls so far. Although it’s only three games in length, the first two haven’t given any reason for optimism. On Wednesday they lost to one of the worst teams in the league by double digits. Then Friday they struggled offensively and watched Hassan Whiteside set a record for most blocks in a game by a Portland Trail Blazer. Chicago is in midst of a three game losing streak and have dropped four of their last five. It’s been said for a while that the Bulls need a win to turn things around but for the past week they haven’t gotten one yet. Tonight represents one more chance for the Bulls to get a win on the road before they head back to Chicago for two straight home games.
The Bulls opponents will be the Sacramento Kings, who are 5-3 at home this season. Their young building blocks De’Aaron Fox (ankle) and Marvin Bagley (right thumb) are out tonight and have been out for a while which have hurt them this first quarter of the season.
This will be Sacramento’s second home game back after a four game road trip on the East Coast. They went 1-3 in that stretch with their only victory coming against the Wizards. In their most recent game against the Denver Nuggets, they were basically gifted a win when guard Jamal Murray inexplicably ran out the clock with the Kings leading. His error along with 30 points from Harrison Barnes and 21 from Buddy Hield gave Sacramento a 100-97 victory in overtime. The Kings currently sit in 9th in the Western Conference standings with a record of 8-10. There are currently four teams with eight wins in the West. Sacramento, Phoenix, Oklahoma City, and Portland are all tied in the wings category. However it’s currently the Suns who are holding the keys to the eight seed at the moment. With the Spurs only a game behind those four, Sacramento has to keep trying to find wins or they might be left behind. The Timberwolves, who are currently the seventh seed, are two games ahead of Phoenix.
When it comes to matchups, Hield has improved in his time in Sacramento and can burn defenses who give him space to shoot from deep. Barnes will be a problem to guard tonight, especially when the Bulls trot out their three-guard lineups. In all honesty, I wouldn’t be surprised if I see someone like Kris Dunn try and match up against Barnes.
Going off the injury report K.C. Johnson posted earlier this afternoon, Otto Porter is still out and may be for a while longer (‘no timetable’). his backup Chandler Hutchison is also out with that shoulder injury. Tomas Satoransky might show up on the injury report with the toe injury which popped up before the Blazers game. He was listed as probable before playing 30 minutes against Portland.
As for the Kings, another one of their key guys in their young core is on the injury report, as Bogdan Bogdanovic is probable with a hamstring issue.
Game Time: 9PM Central Time
TV: NBC Sports Chicago
Betting Info: The spread currently has the Kings as five point favorites and the over/under is set at 212 (via the Action Network).