NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, March 15th (All times Eastern)
Sacramento Kings (23-42) at Chicago Bulls (36-29), 8 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Chicago Bulls have chalked up some impressive wins over great teams lately and look to stay on track when they resume a six-game homestand Saturday versus the Sacramento Kings.
The Bulls have beaten Miami and Houston on the homestand with losses to Memphis and San Antonio. They defeated the mighty Rockets, 111-87, on Thursday behind Mike Dunleavy's 21 points and 19 from Kirk Hinrich. Carlos Boozer scored 18 points to go with seven rebounds for Chicago.
Joakim Noah ended with 13 points, 10 boards and nine assists, while D.J. Augustin and Jimmy Butler scored 13 and 11 points, respectively. The Bulls, who were able to shut down the high-scoring Rockets and hold them to 35 percent shooting, have alternated results in the last seven games and are 12-4 since Feb. 9.
Chicago shot 50 percent from the floor and buried 14-of-24 3-pointers. Hinrich buried five from beyond the arc and Dunleavy sank four deep balls. With 7:54 left in the second quarter, Rockets forward Chandler Parsons drove the lane and his elbow collided with Dunleavy's face. Dunleavy, who held his ground to take the offensive foul, was forced off the court due to excessive bleeding.
Dunleavy received 10 stitches to close the wound and returned to the court to start the third quarter. He scored 10 points during Chicago's 20-2 run to open the period which expanded the lead to 70-44 midway through the quarter.
"I was able to get back here quick enough. They did a pretty good job of stitching me up," Dunleavy said. "The doctor said I had thick skin."
The Bulls, seeded fourth in the East, improved to 20-12 at home and bounced back from 104-96 loss to the Spurs. They will close the stay Monday versus Oklahoma City.
Sacramento is nearing the end to its seven-game road trip (2-3) and recorded a 115-98 win over the lowly Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday.
Rudy Gay had 27 points and seven rebounds, Isaiah Thomas scored 20 points with six assists and DeMarcus Cousins recorded a 19-point, 12-rebound double-double for the Kings, who ended a three-game slide and scored 21 points on 20 Philadelphia turnovers.
"I thought we defended at a much better level in the second half," said Kings coach Michael Malone. "When we defend like that and rebound, we can get out and run."
The Kings are 10-23 as the visitor and will close the 12-day road trip Sunday against Minnesota. They are averaging 99.2 ppg on the trip and allowing 100.4 points.
Meanwhile, Cousins has recorded at least 20 points in five of the last seven games and owns double-doubles in six of those. Gay has scored 20-plus points in nine of his previous 11 games for the Kings, who are 17-19 with Cousins, Gay and Thomas in the lineup.
Sacramento defeated Chicago 99-70 on Feb. 3 in California's capital city and was led by Cousins' 25 points and 16 rebounds. Butler had 17 points in that one to lead Chicago, which has still prevailed in eight of the last 11 matchups with the Kings.
The Kings have lost three straight and five of six trips to Chicago.
03/15 10:29:51 ET