Bulls, Kings will try to stop losing streak (Jan 21, 2017)

CHICAGO — Someone’s losing streak will end when the Chicago Bulls host the Sacramento Kings on Saturday night at the United Center.

Chicago (21-23) has lost two games in a row to the Dallas Mavericks and Atlanta Hawks. The talented but inconsistent Bulls already have amassed five three-game losing streaks this season and will try to avoid streak No. 6 against the Kings.

Meanwhile, Sacramento (16-26) has lost four consecutive games to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Indiana Pacers and Memphis Grizzlies. The Kings are looking to avoid their first five-game losing streak of the season.

Both teams will play on short rest after late-night flights into Chicago. The Bulls lost 102-93 on Friday night in Atlanta and the Kings fell short 107-91 a few hundred miles away in Memphis.

Bulls guard Dwyane Wade will try to bounce back from one of his worst performances of the season. Wade matched a season low with four points on 2-of-10 shooting from the field against the Hawks.

Wade’s friend and teammate, Jimmy Butler, will return to Chicago for the first time since he was named an Eastern Conference starter in the All-Star Game. The honor marks Butler’s third selection to the event and his first as a starter.

Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said he believed more good news could lie ahead for his team.

“I like our guys, I like our group,” Hoiberg told the Chicago Tribune. “I like the way they go out there and they fight. Just got to obviously continue to work and get better, more consistent, and we’ll continue to do that.”

Sacramento fans likely have heard many of the same sentiments. The Kings were in the playoff mix with a 14-17 record on Dec. 26, but since then they have lost nine of 11 games.

Forward-center DeMarcus Cousins will look to remain among the NBA’s leading scorers when he tips off against the Bulls. The 6-foot-11, 270-pound giant is averaging 27.8 points per game, which is the best production of his seven-season career.

Despite his numbers, Cousins was left out as a starter for the Western Conference All-Star team in favor of Stephen Curry, James Harden, Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant and Anthony Davis. Cousins, 26, has earned two All-Star selections and will try to make it three in a row as a reserve.

Kings coach Dave Joerger will look for someone to supplement Cousins on the offensive end versus the Bulls. Joerger’s squad lost a big chunk of its offense when guard Rudy Gay was sidelined for the rest of the season this week because of a ruptured left Achilles tendon.

Gay’s absence was noticeable against the Grizzlies as only two players other than Cousins managed to score more than eight points. Guard Garrett Temple contributed 14 points, and guard Ty Lawson added 13 points off the bench.

“It may become an issue as far as having a go-to guy and somebody who can break a dry spell offensively,” Joerger told the Sacramento Bee.

The Bulls are 13-9 on their home court. The Kings have posted an 8-13 record on the road.