Kings’ Speech: Game 1 at Chicago Bulls

Marcus Thornton drives past the Rip Hamilton of the Chicago Bulls (Photo: Steven Chea)

A new season begins for the Sacramento Kings on the road tonight in the windy city against the Chicago Bulls.

The Kings have a tough task ahead of them.  Under head coach Tom Thibodeau, they’re arguably the league’s most disciplined team on the defense.  Even without 2011 NBA MVP Derrick Rose, who’s still recovering from knee surgery, Tyreke Evans knows they’re still a formidable opponent because of the way they defend.

They play defense.  That’s why they’re so good without D-Rose they can still win games.  They play defense every possession – Joakim Noah, (Carlos) Boozer, those guys.  They go out there and work on the defensive end…And we just gotta do the same thing – just play defense.

Without Rose however, the Bulls are a different team.  In his absence, they brought back 2003 first round pick Kirk Hinrich and former Golden State Warrior Nate Robinson to fill the void.  How does Keith Smart prepare his team for the likes of two point guards with contrasting styles of play to the 2011 MVP?

You know the guys who’ve played in the league.  You know what they do.  You know their tendencies.  You have a good database on all their players who are going to play heavy minutes over there.  So regardless of who plays or however, we know that each of their point guards – we know what they can do, how they like to play.  And that’s the thing about once you’ve been in the league for a while, you kind of know what guys are going to do.  And now you just have to figure out how they work in a different offensive scheme that that team (they are with) has now.

The Bulls have a solid big man rotation featuring Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson.  Jason Thompson knows that they have to keep the Bulls three bigs out of their comfort zone in order to have success.

Just don’t make them get into their sweet spots.  Noah wants to get points in the paint and have a lot of energy on defense.  And Boozer, if he gets it going early, then it can open up his jump shot and stuff like that.  So on paper coaches – assistant coaches, (our) head coach – prepares us well with the scouting report and knowing what guys want to do.  And we’re trying to get them out of their comfort level.

Game tips off at 5 pm PT from the United Center.  Follow Cowbell Kingdom throughout the day for additional pre and postgame analysis.

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About: Jonathan Santiago

Jonathan Santiago serves Cowbell Kingdom as senior editor specializing in writing, podcasting and video production. He also handles the majority of CK’s day-to-day beat coverage of the Kings.