The Bulls return home from a long road trip and have their first game at the United Center since Jan. 25 when they host the Kings. Chicago is a 9-point favorite on NBA odds with a total of 200.5.
Kings Likely Shorthanded
Sacramento (18-32) comes in off an 85-83 home win over Phoenix on Sunday, just the Kings' second victory in the past 13 games. All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins hit a 19-foot jumper at the buzzer for the victory. He had yet another big game with 28 points and 12 rebounds and is the best center in the NBA right now, hands down. Cousins has played in 38 games this year and has had a double-double in 32 of them.
The Kings played without starting point guard Darren Collison on Sunday as well as small forward Rudy Gay. Collison, who averages 16.1 points and 5.6 assists per game, has missed two straight with a hip flexor. Gay, who averages 19.9 points and 5.8 rebounds, had a sore foot. Both are questionable for the Bulls. If they can't go, Ramon Sessions would start again for Collison and Omri Casspi for Gay. Sessions had 10 points, seven rebounds and six assists vs. Phoenix, while Casspi had three points and five rebounds.
Sacramento could be close to making a third coaching change this season. The team fired the highly respected Mike Malone in mid-December and replaced him on an interim basis with Tyrone Corbin. He was supposed to finish out the season, but the Kings are reportedly thinking about making a move very soon in hiring George Karl, currently an NBA analyst. He ranks sixth all-time among NBA coaches with 1,131 wins and has a working history with Kings GM Pete D'Alessandro. Sacramento is just 7-19 under Corbin so owner Vivek Ranadive is itching to do something. Expect Karl to be the team's coach right after the All-Star Break.
The Kings are 20-28-2 against the NBA betting spread this season and 24-26 'over/under.'
Chicago (32-20) finished off a six-game road trip at 3-3, winning Saturday in New Orleans and Sunday in Orlando. The Bulls were pretty fortunate in both. Against the Pelicans, New Orleans superstar Anthony Davis left the game with an injured shoulder and the Bulls took advantage by going on a 40-11 run once he was out. On Sunday, Chicago was down six points to the Magic late in the game. The Bulls took the lead when Pau Gasol dunked a rebound off a Derrick Rose miss with 9.4 seconds left. Orlando then missed two close shots on the other end to win it.
All-Star Jimmy Butler led Chicago with 27 points vs. the Magic, while All-Star starter Gasol had 25 points and 15 rebounds. He leads the NBA with 33 double-doubles and has had one in 12 straight games, the longest by a Chicago player since Michael Jordan in 1988-89. The Bulls may get back starting small forward Mike Dunleavy for this one as he's missed 19 straight games with a right ankle injury. Guard Kirk Hinrich missed the Orlando game with a toe injury and is day-to-day. With those two out, Tony Snell started against the Magic and played a season-high 37 minutes. When everyone's healthy, sometimes Snell doesn't even get on the court.
The Bulls are 23-29 against the spread and 25-26-1 'over/under' on NBA odds. They are a disappointing 13-11 at home and have lost to some bad teams there this season (Utah, Boston, Orlando to name three).
On Nov. 20 the Bulls visited Sacramento and lost 103-88 as a 3-point underdog on NBA odds (total was set at 195.5). Cousins had 22 points and 14 rebounds, while Gay had 20 points and Collison 17 points and 12 assists. Sacramento never trailed after taking the lead in the second quarter. Chicago was led by 23 points from Butler, while Joakim Noah had 10 points and 11 rebounds but was battling foul trouble. The Bulls played without Derrick Rose and Gasol. The Bulls were attempting to win their first seven road games of a season for the first time in franchise history.
NBA Free Picks: Take Bulls -9 on NBA odds and 'under' 200.5 points with your NBA picks. The Kings have covered just two of their past 11 on the road. They are 1-5 ATS in their past six following a win. The Bulls have covered four straight after an ATS loss. However, Chicago is 0-6 ATS in its past six at home vs. teams with a losing road record. The under is 6-0 in Sacramento's past six. It is 4-0 in Chicago's past four.