Programming note: Kings-Bulls coverage starts today at 4:30pm with Kings Pregame Live on CSN California, and streaming live right here.
The Kings are riding high after running over the Knicks on Sunday evening, but they face a completely different beast on Monday night in Chicago. The Bulls are locked in a fight for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and need every win possible if they hope to fend off the charging Pistons and Wizards. Can the Kings play spoiler at the United Center where they have lost five straight?
DeMarcus Cousins dropped 30 points and 11 rebounds on the Bulls last time these two teams faced off, but he also turned the ball over six times as the Kings fell 107-102. Sacramento will need another huge night from their star center if they hope to make it two games in a row on the road.
The Bulls are beat up and trying to fend off two young and hungry teams nipping at their heels. Jimmy Butler was a late scratch the last time these two teams played, but the 26-year-old All-Star is ready to roll tonight.
Bulls by 8
WHERE THEY STAND
Kings: 27-42, third place in Pacific
Bulls: 35-33, third place in Central
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Omri Casspi vs. Doug McDermott -- Casspi is one of the few Kings players that has continued to fight despite the losses piling up. He’ll match up with McDermott who is having a breakout season in year two. If Casspi sags off the young sharpshooter, he’ll make the Kings pay.
Kings: SG Ben McLemore (non-displaced fracture of right ring finger) doubtful, F Omri Casspi (sore left ankle) probable, F-C Willie Cauley-Stein (flu-like symptoms) probable, PG Rajon Rondo (thumb, shoulder, toe) probable, SG Marco Belinelli (sore right ankle) probable.
Bulls: C Pau Gasol (knee) will play, G E'twaun Moore (hamstring) out, F/C Cameron Bairstow (back) out, C Joakim Noah (shoulder) out,
This is the second of two matchups between these two clubs this season, with Chicago holding a 1-0 lead after besting the Kings at home on Feb. 3 by a final of 107-102. The Bulls hold a 79-75 advantage over the Kings all-time and a 32-28 lead during the Sacramento-era.
“I think we lose that focus a lot in the game. That is why we are so up and down throughout the year.” -- DeMarcus Cousins following the win over the Knicks