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Kings 107, Bulls 106: Tanks for the Win, Chicago!

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The Kings go down to the wire in a back and forth game, but end up with a win in their first game of a four game road trip!

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Chicago Bulls Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

First Quarter:

The first quarter of this game was highlighted by De’Aaron Fox wearing a headband, and checking out of the game with 4 minutes left in the quarter with a limp after coming down awkwardly on Jerian Grant’s foot. In true terrible team fashion, a back and forth game with little defense featured none other than Zach Randolph leading the way for the Kings with 11 points of the first 23 points five rebounds to boot. Not to be outdone, Robin Lopez and Lauri Markannen scored 6 and 5 points a piece to lead the Bulls, and the after one quarter of play, the Bulls dropped 32, the Kings found 29 points themselves.

First Quarter Impressions:

-The Bulls crowd are treating this game like a 3-17 team was playing a 6-17 team. I’m fairly certain I saw a dude reading yesterday’s paper courtside.

-Willie Cauley-Stein had two blocks in the quarter; one off the glass, and the other a swat out of bounds to end the quarter.

-Each team shot 13-23 from the field after one. I only took six shots, but they hit me more than I hit them.

Second Quarter:

The Kings started off where the first quarter left off and gave the Bulls a 7-2 run out of the gate before Dave Joerger called himself a time out. For a team that played the night before, the Bulls came out, matched and then exceeded the Kings effort to start the second; Buddy Hield tossed one of the laziest passes of the year to midcourt for a steal. The Bulls are pretty terrible from three, so of course just two minutes into the second quarter, they were 5-10 from deep. Its hard to quantify just how bad the defense was in this game: with 8:22 left in the second, the Kings were shooting 55%, the Bulls were shooting 60% and after a streak of made shots from each side put the score at 47-41, Dave Joerger was tired of seeing the numbers on the scoreboard change so fast, so he called himself another timeout. Out of the break, Vince Carter had himself a three ball and on the other end immediately got scored on by a Paul Zipser; a lucky fan who apparently won a raffle to play a game for Chicago. To describe what kind of game this is: on back to back possessions Zach Randolph threw a ball across court and out of bounds, miles from another Kings player and then the Bulls threw a turnover into the fourth row of the stands. I didn’t name the specific Bulls player, because to be completely honest, my eyes had glazed over and I didn’t catch which red blob tossed the orange blob into the dark grey blobs. The three point shooting continued to be a crutch for the Bulls, as they had hit 7-13 from deep by the four minute mark. The Bulls defense made Zach Randolph look like Boogie Cousins late in the second, and he finished the half with 17 points, 8 rebounds. The Kings took a lead into half time at 61-60 off of some silliness described below.

Second Quarter/First Impressions:

-To finish the first half Bogdanovic got himself a steal with 3.5 seconds left, ran it the length of the court and drew a free throw and a goaltending at the buzzer. A clutch play for Bogi that gave the Kings a half time lead, after being down and outplayed nearly all of the second.

-De’Aaron Fox had himself a really nice chase down block that saved a sure two points from Kris Dunn. Somewhere John Wall smiled. Then Grant and Jerry mentioned De’Aaron Fox had FOUR blocks, and GOD got off his throne to check the stats, and grinned like an idiot.

Third Quarter:

Four minutes into the third, the game was still a back and forth that featured little in terms of defense or watchability. Skal got himself a lob dunk from Fox after two Bulls tripped themselves up going for a rebound, so maybe that counts, in a Shaqtin-a-Fool kind of way. A Kings 8-0 run finally broke the game open a bit at 73-66 half way through the quarter. As hard as the Kings tried though, the Bulls were right there to put in a timely three, and the Kings couldn’t quite push it to 10. A David Nwaba layup put the Bulls down just one, but a Cauley-Stein block lead to Kings time out, and out of it the Kings got themselves a patented Bogi-Stein oop. The lead didn’t last long though, and after a jump pass turnover from Frank Mason III lead to the Bulls taking an 81-79 lead. Garrett Temple’s three with 2 seconds left in the quarter saved the Kings from going into the fourth down, giving them a one point lead with one to play; Kings 82, Bulls 81.

Third Quarter Impressions:

Willie had himself another block with a couple of minutes left in the third and Grant and Jerry hit on a good point when they said he blocked the shot with ease. Two of his three blocks tonight looked not only easy, but downright boring for Cauley-Stein to swat at. The guy could average 2.5 blocks a game over a season if he felt so inclined.

George Hill has played this game like a guy waiting for December 15th to come so he can get moved to the next team: he’s just aggressive enough to show that he’s still got game, but passive enough that he can’t sustain a serious injury. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that he just isn’t mentally there for Sacramento, won’t ever be and I’ve moved on to hoping he’s worth a 2019 first round pick from a playoff team in need.

Fourth Quarter:

This is the kind of game where Garrett Temple had to play meaningful, tough defense on Paul Zipser in the starting minutes of the fourth, and Zipser schooled him on the block into a fade away shot off the block. OOF. With 8 minutes left, buckets were traded back and forth, and the Kings found themselves on top of the pile 92-90 before a Markkanen three gave the Bulls back almost a full minute later. Back and forth. Back and forth. As in, twenty lead changes with still six minutes left to play, and 94-93 in favor of the Kings. I think this game would be a bit accessible but the Chicago crowd tonight was completely beat down and even the eternal Grant and Jerry sounded more bored than usual. Bogdanovic rang true to his Serbian Sniper nickname when he splashed a three with 3:10 left to play, putting the Kings up four, but Justin Holiday came back with a two of his own to answer on the other end. With ninety seconds to play, it was 101-99 Kings. At the 52 second mark, Bogdanovic took a nifty stepback three that subsequently airballed, but ended up in the hands of Z-Bo who put in a layup, giving Bogi the Kobe-Assist and the Kings a four point lead with 51 seconds and change to play. Out of the time out, Robin Lopez hit a long two, but on the very next posession, Willie saw a double team deep in the post, and found a cutting De’Aaron Fox who was wide open for a baseline layup. Another time out was called by The Mayor, but Willie clamped Lauri Markkanen down on a fadeaway and the shot airballed. The free throw game was played, but of course as I typed that, Willie fouled Jerian Grant shooting a three pointer with 8.7 seconds left, but the 78% free throw shooter missed the first and ultimately the Kings ended up winning this game 107-106.

Fourth Quarter/Second Half Impressions:

Bogi ended up with 19 points, shooting 50% from the field and tying his career high. The kid is such a calming presence and as he gains confidence in himself at an NBA level, he’s going to be a very good shooting guard.

The Bulls splashed a half court shot to get the final score within one. That’s the kind of game it was tonight.

Zach Randolph finished the game with 25 points and 13 rebounds and hasn’t been terrible of late.

Three Takeaways:

1) The Kings beat a team they were supposed to! It wasn’t in convincing fashion, and it wasn’t very pretty but dang it, a W is a W.

2) This is the kind of game where I don’t mind Z-Bo going off. He saved this game from getting out of hand a couple of times against a team that would been a huge deflating loss had we mucked it up. Thank’s for the W, Zach. Good luck with that #1 pick, Chicago.

3) For the 14 people who read the game previews, I hid a challenge to the Kings today. Just happy to say, I won’t be getting myself a Lonzo tattoo afterall. (Also, the Kings are 3-0 when I write these, soooo...)

Performance Review:

It wasn’t pretty, it was way closer than it probably should have been but the Kings beat a team that they should have beat. Zach Randolph was the standout, and Bogi was right behind him, but everything else was just background noise.

Grade: B+