Bulls-Kings Preview

The Chicago Bulls are concerned with finding a way to end their

recent offensive struggles, and it remains uncertain when Derrick

Rose can help.

A visit to Sacramento could provide an immediate fix.

The Bulls look to avoid a fifth consecutive road loss Wednesday

night while trying for a sixth straight victory over the Kings, who

could be without their top player.

Chicago (35-28) ranks near the bottom of the NBA in scoring

(92.3 points per game) and field-goal percentage (43.4), but has

fared even worse during this four-game road skid with an average of

82.0 points on 36.4 percent shooting. Carlos Boozer has averaged

7.5 points in that span, compared to 22.5 in the last four home


Boozer shot 4 of 16 on Sunday as the Bulls hit 37.1 percent –

their best effort in the last three overall – in a 90-81 road loss

to the Los Angeles Lakers. It was their third defeat in four games

and dropped them to 7-11 since the start of February.

“We have to find a way to spread the court a little bit more,”

said All-Star Joakim Noah, who had 18 points and 17 rebounds. “I’m

just disappointed because we’re not executing our offense very


While Chicago has consistently struggled to score without Rose,

the distraction of whether or not he’ll return this season from an

ACL injury continues to linger. The Bulls also are playing without

forward Taj Gibson (knee) and veteran guards Richard Hamilton

(back) and Kirk Hinrich (foot).

“We never make any excuses,” said Luol Deng, shooting 36.6

percent over the last six games while averaging 12.8 points – 3.4

below his season average. “We’re just being a team with the guys we

have. We have enough to win.

“We could play a lot better. We’ve played better before. Just on

both ends of the floor we could do a lot better.”

Chicago is riding its worst road losing streak in a single

season since a six-game skid Feb. 22-March 17, 2010.

The good news for the Bulls is they’re visiting a city where

they haven’t lost in five years, having won their last four trips

to Sacramento by double digits. Plus, no Western Conference team

has a worse record than the Kings (22-43), who are allowing a

league-high 105.1 points per game and 112.0 over their last 15.

“It’s tough but we just got to bounce back and get a W in

Sacramento,” Noah told the Bulls’ official website. “We’ve just got

to keep fighting. Sometimes we get a little too frustrated. We have

to understand that.”

Of the Bulls’ five straight wins over the Kings, the last two

came without Rose. Noah had 23 points and 10 rebounds in a 93-87

season-opening victory over Sacramento on Oct. 31.

Noah could have an easier time if the Kings are missing DeMarcus


The talented but volatile third-year big man was ejected from

Sunday’s 115-113 home loss to Milwaukee after drawing a flagrant 2

foul for an elbow to the head of the Bucks’ Mike Dunleavy. The two

were earlier called for technical fouls after confronting each


Cousins, who has totaled 46 points and 24 rebounds in the last

two games, already has been suspended three times this season, two

from the league.

“When things like this happen we say `just calm down.’ But he

wears his emotions on his sleeve,” said guard Isaiah Thomas, who

had 14 points and nine assists. “He just has to be smarter.”

Sacramento’s Tyreke Evans has 45 points over the past two games

after totaling 39 through his first four this month. He’s averaged

21.2 in six matchups versus Chicago.