It's the first game of a five-game west coast road trip, and the Bulls start off in Sacramento where rookie Tyreke Evans and a familiar face in Andres Nocioni awaits them. Chicago, coming off a six point victory against Philadelphia on Saturday, is 5-4 on the year just like tonights opponents.
The Kings lost their leading scorer Kevin Martin (30.6 points a game), and have rolled off an impressive four straight, with Evans leading the way. The fourth overall selection has scored 23.7 points during that span, on a surprising 46% from the field.
Center Joakim Noah - leading the league in rebounding through his first nine contests - shared his thoughts on going up against former Bull, Andres Nocioni.
hated Noc on the road and everybody hated him on other teams. So it's
going to be weird to see what those hacks feel like."
Noah will not only face the competitive fire of Nocioni, but also the much-improved Jason Thompson (14.9 points and 10.1 rebounds) and center Spencer Hawes. Bulls rookie Taj Gibson, who went scoreless against the 76'ers, will look to redeem himself tonight when he faces a team that allows 105 points a game.
Former King John Salmons has suffered through a slow start of the season, but will have every opportunity to take advantage of the open lanes, given up by Sacramento. Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich broke out of a slump against Philadelphia when he put up 19 points on just 10 shots. Hinrich will look to lower the surprising efficiency of Beno Udrih (53%) tonight, while also taking his turn on Tyreke Evans.
Second-year man Derrick Rose found his legs against the 76'ers, breaking down the defense for several lay-ups, but commited seven turnovers. Rose, who is suffering from a sore ankle, has seen a large statistical drop across the board during his sophomore season, and has been visibly timid on the floor.
Luol Deng, who will be the primary match-up to Nocioni, his best friend on the team a year ago, had yet another strong performance at the United Center on Saturday. Deng racked up 19 points and nine rebounds, living up to his season averages of 17.6 points and 9.2 boards.