Saturday, March 15, 2014
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Preview: Kings at Bulls

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[March 15, 2014]  The Chicago Bulls are usually at their best when they ooze with intensity and they should be extra motivated when the Sacramento Kings pay a visit Saturday. The Bulls played their worst game of the season when the teams met on Feb. 3 in Sacramento, posting their worst field-goal percentage in 11 years (28.2) in the 99-70 loss. Chicago got bulled over that night by Kings center DeMarcus Cousins, who had 25 points and 16 rebounds while helping frustrate Bulls center Joakim Noah.

The Kings still have one of the worst records in the NBA and will be playing the sixth game of a season-long 12-day, seven-game road trip, though they did end a three-game losing streak with a win Wednesday in Philadelphia. Chicago should be happy to see the Kings after four straight games against the Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets and another coming up Monday against the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder, all teams with winning records. The Bulls went 2-2 in the last four and will be looking to win two straight for the first time this month.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, WGN (Chicago), News10 (Sacramento)

ABOUT THE KINGS (23-42): Cousins has six double-doubles in the last seven games, and his matchup with Noah will surely be the one to watch. The Kings have two other players who average better than 20 points, making them the only team in the NBA with three players posting at least 20. Isaiah Thomas is putting up 20.3 points but hasn't exceeded that mark in any of the last four games while shooting 34.6 percent. Rudy Gay, also at 20.3 points for the season, was held to 14 points on 6-of-12 shooting in the last meeting with Chicago.

ABOUT THE BULLS (36-29): Noah just missed his fourth triple-double of the season in Thursday's 111-87 win against the visiting Rockets, finishing with 13 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists after taking a seat for the final three minutes of the game. Noah continues to get much of the credit for Chicago's 24-11 record in 2014, following a 12-18 start that included the lost of Derrick Rose to another season-ending knee injury, but different players have stepped up at key times for the Bulls. Against the Rockets, starting small forward Mike Dunleavy returned for the second half after getting 10 stitches to close a gash in his head and scored all 21 of his points after the break.

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BUZZER-BEATERS

  1. Chicago F Taj Gibson has combined for 13 points in the last three games after averaging 16.9 in February.

  2. The Bulls are 12-1 following their last 13 losses.

  3. Chicago G Jimmer Fredette, who was signed after being waived by Sacramento, has totaled 12 points in limited time with his new team.

PREDICTION: Bulls 114, Kings 94

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