The Sacramento Kings haven’t won in Chicago this decade but figure to have a good shot at halting their seven-game skid at the United Center when they visit the hapless Bulls on Friday. Sacramento last left the Windy City victorious on Dec. 21, 2009, but the current version of the Bulls owns the worst record in the NBA at 3-17.
Chicago played well but suffered a 111-110 loss at Denver on Thursday - its seventh straight setback and 12th in the last 13 games. “We had a lot of really good performances and I really thought we battled,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg told reporters. “That is what you have to do on the road to give yourself a chance. I am really proud of our guys.” Sacramento is just 2-9 on the road as it begins a four-game trek, but it did defeat Golden State in its most-recent road contest. However, the Kings followed up the impressive victory with a dreadful performance as they suffered a 112-87 home loss to Milwaukee.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBCSN California (Sacramento), NBCSN Chicago
ABOUT THE KINGS (6-15): Sacramento scored just 11 second-quarter points and trailed by 24 at halftime during the poor showing against Milwaukee. “We didn’t do the things we needed to do to make it a close game,” rookie guard Frank Mason III told reporters. “They got anywhere they wanted on the court, a lot of easy layups, uncontested shots, things like that.” The Kings allowed the Bucks to shoot 59.2 percent while hitting only 40.3 percent of their attempts, with shooting guard Garrett Temple (18 points) being the lone productive starter.
ABOUT THE BULLS (3-17): Forward Nikola Mirotic (facial fractures) is about to return and was assigned to the Windy City Bulls of the G League as Hoiberg said he needs to get in game shape. Mirotic hasn’t played this season after getting punched in the face by teammate Bobby Portis during a training-camp altercation, and both players have reached an uneasy truce and are prepared to get along. “Why couldn’t I? We’re teammates, just trying to help this team win as much as possible,” Portis told reporters. “Obviously, we’re struggling right now trying to find a win, and I just want to do everything I can to help my team find a win.”
1. The Bulls have won the last five meetings, including both of last season’s matchups.
2. Sacramento C Willie Cauley-Stein is averaging 16 points on 27-of-43 shooting over his last four games.
3. Chicago SG Zach LaVine (knee) also was sent to Windy City and should make his team debut by mid-December.
PREDICTION: Bulls 97, Kings 94