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Kings 103, Bulls 88: Sacramento holds off Chicago in well-rounded effort

Six Kings hit double figures led by DeMarcus Cousins' 22 point, 14 rebound effort as Sacramento holds off the streaking Bulls in a nationally televised performance.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bulls came into Sleep Train Arena as the only undefeated road team left in the NBA, and with a national audience watching the Sacramento Kings protected their home court.

DeMarcus Cousins had 22 points along with 14 rebounds and four assists, while Darren Collison had 17 points and 12 assists in the Kings 103-88 victory. Rudy Gay added 20 points and seven rebounds on 7-11 shooting as six Kings topped the ten point mark.

Jimmy Butler led the Bulls in the loss with 23 points and eight rebounds, and Joakim Noah added 10 points, 11 rebounds and six assists but spent most of the second half in serious foul trouble.

Cousins didn't score early, but again came up big late in the contest, scoring 16 of his 22 points in the second half. Chicago hung in the game deep into the closing minutes, but clutch shots from Cousins and Gay kept the Kings from another fourth quarter implosion. The two combined for 11 of the Kings last 15 points.

The Kings offense kept the ball moving most of the night, finishing with 26 assists on 38 made field goals. Head Coach Michael Malone was obviously more pleased with his offense, as the Kings shot 51.4% from the floor against a Bulls team that has held opponents to a 42.9% clip. Sacramento also forced the issue at the line, making 23 of 27 free throws while Chicago made 11 of 16.

Omri Casppi continued to provide a consistent bench spark, finishing with 14 points on a perfect 5-5 from the field in just 17 minutes. Derrick Williams had his first solid performance of the year, scoring 10 points and providing a huge lift in a second quarter run.

Aside from Butler's 23 point performance, the Kings kept the Bulls offense in check as Chicago finished the game shooting 42.9%. The Bulls got off to a blistering start in the first quarter; Chicago sank five three pointers on route to 29 points in the period, but Sacramento's perimeter defense locked down after that and didn't allow another three the rest of the contest.

Noah nearly repeated his meltdown from last seasonafter picking up his fifth foul in the third quarter on a blatant flop by Cousins, Noah threw a 6 foot 11 inches sized tantrum and was called for a technical foul. It wasn't the best game for Noah, who struggled to defend Cousins in the second half, but he managed to avoid fouling out and did help the Bulls offense stay within striking distance.

The Bulls were without two starters as both Derrick Rose (hamstring) and Pau Gasol (calf strain) sat out due to injuries. While the loss of two starters would hurt any team, especially two of Rose and Gasol's quality, the Bulls have one of the deepest benches in the association. Kirk Hinrich (nine points, seven assists on 3-11 shooting) and Taj Gibson (12 points, eight rebounds) filled in admirably, but Chicago obviously missed Rose and Gasol's offensive firepower.

The Kings finish off the three game homestand with a 2-1 record, and now head off for a four game road-trip with stops in Minnesota, New Orleans, Houston and San Antionio.

For the opponent's perspective, visit Blog a Bull.

Additional notes from the game:

  • The Bulls went after Cousins early and often, but Cousins kept his cool. Hinrich tried to get under his skin in the first quarter and tied him up on a rebound, but Cousins pulled away from the situation and it was Hinrich who was whistled for the technical foul.
  • Speaking of whistles, it was a game of many, with a combined 47 fouls called.
  • Chicago was the first Eastern Conference opponent for the Kings this season, and Sacramento won't face another until December 2ndwhen they host the Toronto Raptors .
  • Williams' big performance should have been expected as the contest was a nationally televised game. While no statistical site records individual stats in nationally televised games, Williams always seems to step it up in spotlight games as well as in the bigger arenas.
  • It won't show up in the box score, but Jason Thompson (three points, four assists) had another big game for Sacramento. He had another huge defensive performance and helped anchor the defense when Cousins sat with foul trouble.
  • Rookie Nik Stauskas didn't play for the first time all season. The Bulls played bigger lineups and the stronger Jimmy Butler would have been a nightmare matchup for Stauskas, but it was still surprising to see Nik not get playing time. In the fourth quarter, Malone went with Ramon Sessions alongside Collison.
  • The first of six Legends Nights for the Kings featured three in the building-Mike Bibby, Chris Webber(who called the game on TNT) and Brad Miller were all in attendance.