Road Bull(ies): Chicago resumes trip vs. Kings

( - The Chicago Bulls don't mess around when they're playing on the road. Their NBA-best 6-0 record is proof.

The Bulls will get back to work in another time zone Thursday against the Sacramento Kings at Sleep Train Arena.

Chicago kicked off its annual circus road trip with Monday's 105-89 victory over the high-scoring Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center, where Jimmy Butler continued his recent hot play with 22 points and eight assists. He is averaging 25.0 points in his last three games.

"I think my teammates find me in positions to score," Butler told the Bulls' website. "I wouldn't say I'm a go-to guy; I would say I'm really good at the role I'm supposed to play."

Butler said head coach Tom Thibodeau always tells him to "look to score more and be more aggressive." Butler is averaging a career-best and team-high 21.3 points this season, so he's obviously listening.

Taj Gibson scored 20 points against Los Angeles, Mike Dunleavy added 19 and Joakim Noah powered his way to 11 points and 16 rebounds. Noah has recorded three double-doubles in his last five games for the Bulls, who made 48.8 percent of their shots and only had nine turnovers.

The Bulls outscored the Clippers, 31-14, in the third quarter to get this lengthy journey off to a good start.

"This is a big win to start a long road trip," said Butler, who took over with Pau Gasol (calf) and Derrick Rose (hamstring) sidelined.

Both Gasol and Rose are questionable Thursday for a Bulls team that has scored 100 or more points eight times through the first 11 games.

Chicago, which is 8-3 overall, will also make western stops in Portland, Utah, and Denver, then will return east for road bouts against Boston and Brooklyn. The Bulls last started 6-0 on the road in 1996-97, when they finished 30-11 away from the United Center.

The Kings look to get back to their winning ways Thursday in the finale of a three-game homestand and have dropped four of five following a five-game win streak.

Sacramento fell victim to the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday in a 106-100 defeat, as DeMarcus Cousins shook off a hip issue to record 24 points and 17 rebounds for his eighth double-double. Cousins battled with Pelicans star Anthony Davis, who led all scorers with 28 points and grabbed nine boards.

The Kings were the only team in the NBA to not allow an opposing player to score 25 or more points in a game until Davis came to town. Rudy Gay and Jason Thompson scored 15 points apiece in the loss and Darren Collison tallied 13 with a game-high 11 assists.

The Kings had a nine-point halftime lead (54-45), but the Pelicans outscored them, 31-15, in the third quarter.

"It's just the same old story," Kings head coach Michael Malone said. "Tonight we didn't defend."

New Orleans only had six turnovers, but the Kings posted a 52-32 rebounding advantage. Sacramento's 15 turnovers led to 22 points for New Orleans.

Gay was questionable for the contest with a sore Achilles and his status for Thursday is the same. Cousins and Thompson are probable versus Chicago.

The Kings will start a four-game road trip Saturday against Minnesota, New Orleans, Houston and San Antonio.

Sacramento and Chicago are both averaging 102.5 points and split a pair of meetings last season with each squad prevailing at home. The Bulls, though, are 10-4 in the past 14 matchups with Sacramento, winners in 11 of the last 15 encounters in California's capital.