Tonight against the Sacramento Kings, the Chicago Bulls have a chance at getting their first winning record on the infamous circus trip, since the Michael Jordan era.
Although Derrick Rose's status is a question mark, and there have been no reports either way saying if he'll play or not, the Bulls should be able to win this game without him, too.
The Kings have young talent, but they just aren't that good. I see the Bulls taking care of them fairly easily, with or without their star point guard, Derrick Rose.
Let's take a look at some keys to the game:
C.J. Watson has to do his best Derrick Rose impersonation, assuming Rose is still out: Last night, Watson had 33 points, and he was doing it from outside and inside.
Watson certainly shouldn't be depended on scoring 30 points for the second straight night, but he will certainly need to provide the offensive firepower the Bulls could be missing with Rose.
Watson is streaky, but when he's hitting his jumpers, that's when he starts to drive, and that opens up a lot of room for the big men.
Expect Watson to have another good night scoring-wise, but depending on him to have another 30-point game isn't reasonable at all.
Luol Deng will have to step up again tonight: With Carlos Boozer out, most fans around the Bulls said that the player that has to step up in his absence is Deng. Now, with Rose and Boozer out, the burden on Deng to step up is even greater.
Deng is certainly capable of having another night like he had against the Nuggets-- 24 points and 11 rebounds-- but he has to assume the responsibility of being the number 1 option for the Bulls tonight.
If Deng can have another 20/10 night, there's a really, really good chance that the Bulls will win tonight.
Joakim Noah, keep doing what you're doing: Noah is a double-double machine. As long as he keeps on racking them up, the Bulls will continue to win, and he has an All-Star game appearance in his future.
Noah should feast tonight on the glass, with the Kings lacking any dominant big man. Noah will have the responsibility of guarding DeMarcus Cousins (6'11", 270 lbs), who was the 5th overall pick in this past year's NBA Draft, tonight due to Cousins' size and rebounding ability.
Cousins has had a solid season for the lowly Kings, averaging 10.6 PPG and 6.9 RPG (second on the Kings in RPG.)
Kyle Korver, Keith Bogans, or Ronnie Brewer-- one of you guys have to step up tonight: When one of those guys steps up and has a good game, the Bulls typically win. Some nights it's the energy brought by Bogans or Brewer, other nights it's the shooting brought by Korver.
Either way, one of those guys will have to step up and have a impact if the Bulls are going to pull out a game in Sacramento.
If all three are going to be invisible, than it's going to be a long night. However, I can see Brewer or Bogans having a good impact on tonight's game defensively, shutting down Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans.
Final thoughts: Rose or not, the Bulls should win tonight's game easily. The Kings are coming off a 18-point loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, showing how bad of a team the Kings are.
If the Bulls are contenders, not pretenders, they will pull out tonight's game if Rose is out. A game against the Kings is a game title contenders win on a night with their best player, or not.
I see the Bulls winning tonight be double-didgets, however, don't be surprised if the Kings can keep it close for most of the games, but the Bulls will ultimately pull away.
Bulls @ Kings. 9:00pm C.S.T. WGN/WGN America/ESPN 1000