Can the Bulls Keep Up with the Kings? And Other Bulls Bullets

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Can the Bulls Keep Up with the Kings? And Other Bulls Bullets

Chicago Bulls

I’m starting to get antsy, folks.

Thanks to a far busier-than-expected past few days, I haven’t had time to sit down and overthink my March Madness bracket yet. History shows that I need at least three full hours to do a bunch of research only to finish behind that person who’s never watched a full college basketball game in their life.

Let’s hope I find the time today!

  • The Detroit Pistons giveth… the Detroit Pistons taketh. One day after beating the Indiana Pacers, the Pistons weren’t able to do the same against the Washington Wizards. The dominant victory for Bradley Beal and Co. pushed Washington above Chicago and into 10th. The Bulls will have a chance to flip it back in their favor later this evening, but accomplishing exactly that is going to be a lot easier said than done.
  • I can’t lie to you … I love this Sacramento Kings team. Not only have I always been a fan of De’Aaron Fox’s game, but how can you not love a good redemption story? The Kings haven’t made the playoffs in – drum roll, please – 16 freakin’ years. This isn’t just the longest playoff drought in the NBA, but it’s also the longest playoff drought for any team inside America’s four major leagues (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL). They’re the underdog of all underdogs, and they’re putting together a tremendous run that shockingly has them 2nd in the Western Conference.
  • Having said all of that, I hope the Bulls make the Kings look like the same old embarrassing organization that they were from 2006 to 2022. And one way to do that is by continuing their newfound aggressiveness on the offensive end. The Bulls have ranked 7th in offensive rating over their last 10 games, per NBA Stats. The primary reason for that, of course, has been the absurdly efficient play of Zach LaVine. The more he’s pushed the tempo and attacked the rim, the more the floor has opened up for his teammates. Keeping that same energy tonight could lead to a victory, particularly because the Kings have the NBA’s 5th-worst defensive rating (and it’s actually been the worst over the last 10 games).

  • Allowing points in the paint has been an especially costly problem (third-to-last). Pick-and-roll ball-handlers also average the 4th-highest PPP when matched up with this Kings’ defense. Against a similar porous Rockets interior defense, LaVine exploded for an easy 36 points. He went 10-14 on shots within 6ft of the basket during that matchup. Another big night should be in store for both him and DeMar DeRozan.
  • Now, as bad as the Kings are on defense, they’re comfortably the NBA’s best offense. The Sabonis-Fox tandem has been one of the deadliest duos in the league, as they combine for nearly 44.5 points and 13.4 assists per contest. Overall, the Kings rank top-6 in AST/TOV ratio, EFG%, and points scored in the paint per game. They share the ball incredibly well, have several knock-down 3-point shooters, and can ramp up the physicality when needed (8th in FTAs per game). The Bulls’ defense has fallen off as their offense has taken over, so they’ll need to see that side of the ball trend back in the right direction tonight to get the W. As good as LaVine and the Bulls’ offense has been, they’re not going to be able to purely outscore the Kings.
  • For what it’s worth, the Kings will be without Trey Lyles due to his on-court tussle with Brook Lopez two nights ago. Lyles has averaged roughly 16.7 minutes per game for the Kings off the bench. His absence shouldn’t make a huge difference, but it does give the Bulls one less big body to worry about.

  • Damian Lillard spit facts on J.J. Redick’s Old Man & The Three podcast. As much as I love the drama that has come with this player-movement era, it’s undoubtedly getting a bit out of hand. The concept of building a good team and allowing that team to build a strong foundation within the community isn’t as valued as it used to be. As Dame says, it’s no longer about the journey, it’s about getting a ring as quickly and as easily as possible.

  • You have to love this from Daniel Gafford. I know he wasn’t in Chicago for long, but I’ll always root for the guy.

  • Karl-Anthony Towns is making his way back, but the Bulls will still dodge him when they welcome Minnesota on Friday.

  • Some March Madness fun …

  • *circles*

Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is the Lead Bulls Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.