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February 14, 2012
Kings at Bulls: Five things to watch

CHICAGO - The Kings begin their longest road trip of the season tonight against the Chicago Bulls.

The Bulls will be without the reigning league MVP, Derrick Rose, who is out with a back injury.

Can the Kings beat the team with the best record in the Eastern Conference? Here are five things to watch for tonight.

1. Run, run, run
The Kings don't want to deal with the Bulls' defense in the halfcourt, so maximizing transition opportunities is a must. The Bulls are also back home for the first time after a nine-game road trip. Sometimes an underdog can steal a win in that situation as the home team adjusts to being at home again.

2. Little exposure
Protecting the ball is important against the Bulls with some their athletic defenders. The Kings have had 28 shots blocked in their last two games.

3. Watch for 100
The Bulls have allowed four opponents to score 100 points this season. The Kings managed 98 points in losing to the Bulls by 10 in December, even though the Kings shot just 42.2 percent. The Kings have scored 100 points or more four times this season.

4. Bench vs. Bench
The Bulls have one of the best groups of reserves in the NBA. When Rose can't play, C.J. Watson fills in and the Bulls continue to play at a high level. Taj Gibson, Omer Asik and Kyle Korver are also key contributors. The Kings need solid production from their reserves to compete with the Bulls.

5. Backcourt scoring
Center DeMarcus Cousins is proving to be a consistent scorer for the Kings. The Kings need the same from Tyreke Evans and Marcus Thornton tonight. With Rose and Richard Hamilton out, the Kings need to dominate in the backcourt.



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