Bulls 121, Kings 115: Defense Crumbles, Comeback Fails

CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 14: Loul Deng #9 of the Chicago Bulls passes the ball between Isaiah Thomas #22 and Tyreke Evans #13 of the Sacramento Kings at the United Center on February 14, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Kings 121-115. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

The Sacramento Kings' offense sure broke out alright against the Chicago Bulls and their No. 1 defense on Tuesday, but unfortunately the Bulls scored a few more against Sactown's porous resistance to pick up a 121-116. Even without Derrick Rose, Chicago scored at will, shooting 52.4 percent from the floor, hitting 9-19 threes and 24 free throws. Luol Deng was the high scorer with 23, but the real killers were in the frontcourt: Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer combined for 38 points on 14-25 shooting. Noah, in particular, was deadly (22 and 11 with four blocks).

Of course, his counterpart DeMarcus Cousins had a big night, too. Boogie finished with 28 points on 10-20 shooting (7-9 line) and 17 rebounds (seven offensive). That's a mammoth game for the young monster, but having given almost all of it back to Noah isn't great. Noah's a fine player, though.

Tyreke Evans had a strong game, too, with 27 points on 9-18 shooting, eight assists and eight rebounds. He thoroughly whipped up C.J. Watson, Rose's replacement, and was especially powerful in the second half, where he tallied 20 on 7-11 shooting with six of his assists. He sat for a total of about 45 seconds in the second half, so keep an eye on his energy as the road trip wears on.

Deng won his matchup with John Salmons so thoroughly as to be almost comical. While Deng had 23, a ridiculous 11 assists and seven rebounds, Salmons managed three points on 1-8 shooting, two assists and one rebound. Salmons played most of the third, shooting 0-5 in the period. He didn't get off the bench in the fourth as Keith Smart went almost exclusively with Evans at small forward and Isaiah Thomas and Marcus Thornton in the backcourt. (Jimmer Fredette was a late scratch due to a stomach bug.) That three-guard lineup was a +16 in the fourth quarter.

Donte Greene scored 10 on 4-4 shooting and held Deng scoreless in the second quarter. Woo! Then he missed a couple of buckets in the late third/early fourth and sat for the triple-guard attack. C'est la vie.

The Kings play the Knicks on Wednesday.

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