National Basketball Association
Kings-Bulls Preview
National Basketball Association

Kings-Bulls Preview

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 3:18 p.m. ET

The Chicago Bulls have so far taken advantage of a homestand against lackluster competition while keeping their playoff hopes afloat.

They'll try to maintain possession of one of the Eastern Conference's final spots by getting past the Sacramento Kings on Monday night.

Derrick Rose had 22 points on 10-of-15 shooting as Chicago (35-33) topped Utah 92-85 on Saturday and moved one percentage point ahead of Detroit for eighth place in the East.

"We just have to focus on getting wins. You get a nice win streak here and there, you can end up in the sixth seed. You can't just focus on everybody else. You just have to focus on yourself," forward Taj Gibson said. "The East is tight, but you never know. Anything can happen. It's up to us to get a nice smooth winning streak and get guys in the right mode."


The Bulls have gone 2-1 in a string of seven straight matchups against below-.500 teams and earned both of those wins to start a four-game homestand. They'll next try to claim a sixth straight at the United Center against Sacramento (27-42).

Chicago has won the past two overall meetings but its leading scorer from the most recent matchup, guard E'Twaun Moore, is currently out. Moore is expected to miss at least a week because of a hamstring injury, and Pau Gasol (knee) and Joakim Noah (shoulder) are also among the Bulls' missing players.

Chicago won 107-102 in Sacramento on Feb. 3 with Jimmy Butler, Mike Dunleavy and Nikola Mirotic missing. Moore scored a career-high 24 points, which he matched in a win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Feb. 21.

Rose contributed 21 points and nine assists, and he has averaged 22.5 and 7.7 in his past six matchups.

He'll face a team that's lost 11 of 14. The Kings, though, earned an 88-80 win in New York on Sunday, their fifth in nine road games, despite shooting just 39.8 percent.

Sacramento, allowing a league-high average of 109.2 points, held the Knicks to 35.2 percent shooting in its stingiest effort this season.

"I thought our activity was better. We made good reads. When we had tough double teams, we rotated aggressively and got some steals," coach George Karl said. "It was not a stellar basketball game, but for us to get a win on the road is always a happy place. We had good composure and good control of the game for most of the game."

DeMarcus Cousins scored 24 points and matched a season high with 20 rebounds for Sacramento, which improved to 13-22 away from home.

Cousins had 30 points in last month's loss to the Bulls but has averaged a more pedestrian 18.0 in his last three games in Chicago. He was held to 15 points on 5-of-15 shooting in last season's lone visit.

Sacramento rookie center Willie Cauley-Stein's status is unclear because of flu-like symptoms that have kept him out of the past two games.


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