As fun as Saturday’s victory in LA was, the Kings don’t have much time to celebrate the trouncing of a Los Angeles Clippers squad sans their stars. The Chicago Bulls are in town and looking to buck out of an early season funk. On the bloody end of the baseball bat in seven of their last ten outings, the Bulls are a far cry from the 14-8 start that they had this time last season and even more alarming, fielding a healthy team to boot – sans the semi-permanently ducked Lonzo Ball. The Kings are a win this afternoon away from fully negating that three game Turkey Week droop with a three a winning streak to match it so let’s not waste any more time building the hype – it’s time for afternoon game: PART DEUX.
Let’s talk Kings basketball!
When: Sunday, December 4th, 3:00 PM PT
Where: Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, CA
TV: NBC Sports California
Radio: Sactown Sports 1140
For Your Consideration
DeRozan For De Season: I’ve gotta say here that while not being in the upper echelon of teams I care about, I still find myself a bit disappointed in this Chicago Bulls squad. Last season, prior to injuries pretty much pushing their hype train off the tracks, they had a quiet little chunk of my heart. A group of supposed has-beens and never-quites all lumped together in an exciting, quirky team that looked like it could do some damage in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Arturas Karnisovas dug up enough dirt on Jerry Reinsdorf to get him to start writing checks and making decisions like a big boy franchise, went out and got DeMar DeRozan, paid a hefty toll for Nikola Vucevic, and rolled the dice on the health of Lonzo Ball in an attempt to build something immediate around Zach LaVine and for a brief moment in time, it all seemed to be working for them. Through the second half of December and into January of last season, they won 9 straight games and wound up with a rather sporting a 26-10 record.
Smash cut to today: Lonzo Ball has played in 35 total games for the Bulls, Zach Lavine’s body continues to be spotted haunting the halls of various Chicago medical buildings, DeMar DeRozan and Vuc are there, holding it down the best they can, praying for the day that they all get back together and healthy, all while their own internal clocks tick down towards an unknown, ever-closer combustion date. Darkhorse championship aspirations of just a year ago, now morphed into a deep, unsettling fear that they might be going through all this just to surrender a Top-10 pick to the Orlando Magic.
This sucks because, honestly, the Bulls are a LOT of fun at times. Zach LaVine, a human torch with a legendary highlight reel. DeMar DeRozan went from down and out in San Antonio to putting on an MVP level season at 32. Nikola Vucevic was a workhorse in Orlando for YEARS, and can absolutely give you buckets on a given night. Dosunmu and Pat Williams are great young talents, Alex Caruso is that pesky ass that every fanbase loves, Derrick Jones Jr. is always a threat to put your favorite team on the loser’s end of the Dunk of the Year highlight reel – they’re a loveable bunch!
[Lonzo’s fun too obviously, I just need to see proof of life before I can really discuss him in the present tense here.]
I’ll give you some things to watch for because yesterday’s preview was very, very dry. The Bulls take the least amount of threes in the NBA and make them at the dead center middle ground of the the league, 35.3%. They’re in the top-10 in pace, just below average in points per game and just above average in opponent points per game. They’re 20th in rebounds, 15th in assists, 11th in both steals and blocks. They’re a… perfectly average team in the NBA, with a below average record and above average top-end talent. This is a game that on paper the Kings should absolutely win, and every bit of my head and heart knows the Kangz might show up for instead. My therapist would call this thinking a normal response to repeated trauma. My therapist doesn’t watch basketball and can shut up.
DeMar DeRozan’s god-like status from the mid-range gets tested by Davion Mitchell today, who hounds him into a bad shooting night. De’Aaron Fox and Zach LaVine go tit-for-tat on the scoring front and Keegan Murray vs. Patrick Williams becomes the match-up no one expected but we all enjoy. In the fourth quarter, Vuc and Domas collide and the sound it produces is used by folly artists for the next century any time they need to produce a “slab of beef dropped on a butcher block” sound effect.
Kings: 122, Bulls:109