Road Reaction: Bulls 121, Kings 115
“We fought in this game, had a chance down the wire,” said head coach Keith Smart on the postgame telecast. “Made (it) a free throw game, which they’re a very good free throw shooting team and they made their free throws. But overall, I thought our guys did try to compete in this game.”
DeMarcus Cousins nearly posted his third-career 20-20 game. The Kings big man finished with 28 points and 17 rebounds.
Following a lackluster performance against Phoenix, Tyreke Evans bounce backed big time. He finished with a near triple-double – 27 points, eight assists and eight rebounds in the losing effort.
In the absence of the NBA’s reigning MVP, Luol Deng and Joakim Noah combined for 55 of the Bulls’ 121 points. Both men finished with doubles-doubles. Deng scored 23 and dished out 11 assists, while Noah chipped in 22 points and 11 rebounds.
Notes and Analysis
- Like their last meeting in December, it was another game of runs between the Kings and Bulls. Here are examples: Chicago opened up the fourth quarter with 9-1 run to build a 19-point lead. Then, Sacramento roared back with 12-4 run midway through the final period to cut the deficit to eight.
- The Kings won only one quarter, outscoring the Bulls 38 to 33 in the final period.
- As usual, Cousins was a bear around the rim. Of his 17 rebounds, seven came off the offensive glass. The Kings big man posted his 18th double-double this season.
- Evans came alive in the second half. The Kings guard scored 20 points after intermission – 11 in the third period and nine in the fourth.
- Marcus Thornton scored only four points on two-of-five shooting before halftime. But like Evans, the Kings sharpshooter came out of his slump after intermission. He scored 19 points in the second half, including 11 in the fourth quarter. With 14 seconds left in the game, Thornton nailed a clutch three-pointer to cut the Bulls lead to two.
- Donté Greene continues play consistently well in his role as a versatile sub off the bench. The Kings small forward scored all 10 of his points in the second quarter. He finished shooting four-of-six from the field and two-of-four from three-point range.
- For the first time since taking over as head coach, Smart played his starters for the entire first quarter.
- In addition to Deng and Noah, the Bulls reserves stepped up mightily in the win. Taj Gibson and Kyle Korver combined for 33 of Chicago’s 44 bench points. Korver finished with 18 points on four-of-five shooting from beyond the arc.
- Starting in place of the ailing Derrick Rose, C.J. Watson struggled. It took him 11 shots to score just 10 points. However, backup John Lucas stepped up for the Bulls, dishing out nine assists and scoring nine points in Chicago’s 24th win this season.
- The Kings scored a season-high 115 points. Their previous season-high was 114 points against the Golden State Warriors on Feb 4th.
- Stat of the Night: The Kings lost for the first time this season with Cousins, Evans, and Thornton scoring at least 20 points.
Jonathan Santiago is co-editor of Cowbell Kingdom. Follow him on Twitter.