The Sacramento Kings take to the road for their fourth trip of the early season. They begin a four-game swing Friday evening in Chicago against a struggling Bulls team at the United Center.
Coming off an embarrassing 25-point loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday at Golden 1 Center, the Kings have an opportunity to improve on their 2-9 road record this season. They need to turn up the pace and get out and run against a team that is in a major offensive funk.
The Bulls have lost seven straight and 12 of their last 13 games. They have the lowest offensive rating in the league and are 29th in scoring on the season, just one notch ahead of the Kings.
Kings by 1
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Skal Labissiere vs. Lauri Markkanen -- Labissiere continues his trial by fire Friday in Chicago. The second-year big struggled against Giannis Antetokounmpo on Tuesday and he'll draw a completely different style of player in Markkanen. The Bulls rookie out of Finland shoots seven 3-pointers per game, hitting 34.3 percent from deep. Labissiere will have to stick to the perimeter and avoid picking up fouls on the up and coming jump shooter.
WHERE THEY STAND
Kings: 6-15, fifth place in Pacific
Bulls: 3-17, fifth place in Central
Kings: Justin Jackson, Malachi Richardson and Georgios Papagiannis have been assigned to the Reno Bighorns. PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out until January.
Bulls: PG Cameron Payne (foot) out, SG David Nwaba (ankle) doubtful.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
Opportunity on the road -- Playing on the road is no easy task for a young team, but the Bulls are struggling. For one of the few times in recent memory, Sacramento is favored on the road. You have to take advantage of the situation because Milwaukee is home waiting for the Kings on the second night of a back-to-back.
Defend the 3-ball -- The Bulls aren't a great 3-point shooting team, but they throw up a lot of attempts. You don't want to let Markkanen or Justin Holliday get hot and change the outcome of the game.
Short Memory -- After a huge win in Golden State on Monday, Sacramento didn't look good at all against the Bucks. They need to find some consistency at some point this season, but they also need to take it one game at a time. Forget what happened at Golden 1 and jump on the Bulls early.
The Bulls swept the season series 2-0 last year over Sacramento and have now won five straight against the Kings. Chicago holds an 82-75 lead in the all-time series and a 35-28 advantage during the Sacramento-era.