Reggie Evans got the start again tonight and his trademark energy must have been infectious. The Kings started hot by matching the Bulls' energy and effort. They out rebounded Chicago, hustled back in transition, and went after every loose ball. The score was knotted at 23 at the conclusion of the first quarter, but If Joakim Noah wasn't some kind of freak hustle-monster the Kings probably would have had a decent lead.
Malone spelled the starters in the 2nd quarter and we got a close look at one of the issues that have been plaguing Sacramento of late. When the "Big 3" aren't on the floor, it really seems to be anyone's guess as who should be taking the bulk of the shots and where the offense is going to come from. As has been their M.O. in recent losses, the bench struggled to put any points on the board, but they managed to keep the game close for most of the 2nd quarter. By the time the starters came back in the Bulls had a 7pt lead.
The King's half court defense (which was about as good as it's been all season) and their rebounding, really kept them in the game tonight. They out rebounded the Bulls 55-40. All night long... if there was a rebound to be grabbed, Sacramento was going to grab it. The Evans/DMC combo is no joke. As well as Noah has been playing of late, Chicago had no answer for Sacramento's bullies on the boards. Unfortunately, that wasn't enough to seal the victory.
The good guys were able to chip away at the lead, and most of the 2nd half was a back and forth dogfight. Unfortunately for Kings fans, the Bulls hit some daggers and Sac didn't exactly manage the final seconds wisely. Some late-game mistakes ended up costing the Kings big and the Bulls wrestled away the victory 94-87.
Cousins tallied his 41st double-double of the season with 25pts/14rebs. Rudy Gay chipped in 13pts/5rebs and Isaiah Thomas added 26pts/5ast and a 1 questionable intentional foul of his own. And in case you were wondering, The Jimmer was NOT freed tonight.
On to the next one brothers and sisters.
For the Chi-Town perspective, hit up the incomparable BlogABull.