The Chicago Bulls have a chance to end this grueling road stretch on a high note tonight in Sacramento.
If they can steal this win, they might have a chance to finally turn things around with four of their next five games coming at the United Center. Keep those fingers crossed, folks!
- Recent history would suggest that playing the Kings comes with a sigh of relief, especially after facing the Suns and Warriors. But things have changed. Sacramento is on pace to break its lengthy playoff drought this season with one of the most fun and explosive teams they’ve had in decades. While they aren’t at all ready to enter the contender conversation, they are one of the toughest teams to play on a nightly basis, and the main reason for that is their elite offense.
- Led by the speedy and efficient De’Aaron Fox, Sacramento has the NBA’s 3rd-best offense in the NBA. A total of six players are averaging double figures, including All-Star Domantas Sabonis who has a career-high 62.4 effective field goal percentage. Few teams share the ball better than this group, averaging the 5th-highest AST% a night while playing at top-6 PACE. The Kings are also arguably the NBA’s best-cutting team, scoring the single-most points per possession on cuts to the basket this year. So, yeah, I hope the Bulls’ defense is ready to move its feet!
- The Kings have dropped 123 points and 137 points, respectively, over their past two games. They have more than enough firepower to give this Bulls’ defense trouble, but we might be able to say the same in reverse. As deadly as the Kings have been scoring the basketball, they have yet to figure things out on the defensive end. Their defense is allowing opponents to shoot the 5th-highest field goal percentage this season, and a lot of that has been from their inability to effectively guard the rim (25th in OPP PITP).
- Still, while the Bulls may have opportunities to keep up in the scoring column, this game is going to come down to the defensive end. Chicago is going to have to generate stops down the stretch to squeak this one out, and we all know how challenging that has been for them this season.
- Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan are top-10 in drawing fouls it appears.
- While DeRozan comes as no surprise here, the fact Zach LaVine sits fourth is downright shocking. I truly feel like this dude never gets the calls he deserves, and he’s currently averaging his fewest FTAs since the 2017-18 season. Perhaps that’s because he’s settling for far too many contested jumpers, though. If this data tells us anything, it’s that LaVine should continue to put his head down and get to the rim while he regains confidence in his knee. I understand his burst and finishing may not be where he wants it to be, but the numbers show that he’s still forcing refs to blow the whistle more often that not. Keep driving, Zach!
- The NBA’s official injury report lists Javonte Green as “questionable” for this evening’s game with “right knee soreness.” Considering there are four more of him, I’d expect to see Green on the floor tonight. If he can’t go, however, I’m curious if the Bulls would give Dalen Terry a little bit more run. Not to mention, Green replaced Williams in the starting lineup last game, so this would undoubtedly put the youngest back into the first group.
- Speaking of the starting lineup change, Dosunmu and Williams came out with some fire in their first stint after being benched. The two combined for a quick 12 points in the first quarter to help the Bulls keep things close. After that, however, they pretty much disappeared. I’m sure the change of role will have a short adjustment period, but the Bulls need these two to provide something ASAP. One of the few things Chicago has had going for it this season is its second unit, and the last thing they need is for this lineup change to slow the bench down.
- Draymond Green has poor taste in GOATs.
- The four-time champion had the GOAT discussion recently on Uninterrupted (which is, unsurprisingly owned by LeBron James) and sucked up to The King once again. Green praised James for his longevity and ability to transcend eras. He also said that Jordan couldn’t pass as well and didn’t go up against as tough competition. Look, I’m not denying that James’ career isn’t one of the best we’ve seen, but Jordan never lost under the brightest spotlight and never had to switch organizations to put himself in a position to succeed. He was the epitome of success.
- BEAT THOSE STINKY CHEESEHEADS.