Welp, after a largely impressive comeback overtime victory against the Denver Nuggets, the Sacramento Kings fell flat against a team they should be better than but that wasn’t the case tonight. The Kings dominated early, then the Bulls had their number the rest of the way as they led by 19 at one point. Sacramento attempted another late game comeback, but the Bulls always had an answer and closed it out strong to hand the Kings a disappointing loss.
Harrison Barnes started the game with an emphatic dunk as screens opened up a wide open lane, which signaled the good start to come. The Kings on offense were moving the ball efficiently and converted easy baskets down low with Nemanja Bjelica and Richaun Holmes in rhythm. The Bulls struggled to make their shots and it didn't matter if they were open or contested. The Kings jumped out to a 17-7 lead, but then Chicago made their run. The ball movement for the Kings slowed down and shots stopped falling which the Bulls took advantage of to climb back into it. The Kings would lead 23-22.
The second quarter became the exact opposite. Once Chicago took the lead, they had no plans to give it back anytime soon. Their lead kept growing and went into the double digits as they couldn’t miss from deep. Sacramento couldn’t make any of their shots, especially from three. Bogdan Bogdanovic scored eight straight for Sacramento, including two threes to get the Kings some points. Turnovers were also an issue and that’s one thing you can’t do against the Bulls because they’re so skilled at converting off of them. Bjelica hit a three from Serbia but the Kings trailed 55-44 after being outscored 33-21. Lauri Markkanen has been struggling with his shot all year, but found his range shooting 3-4 of deep for 11 points to lead Chicago. Nemanja Bjelica also had 11 for the Kings with seven rebounds.
Nothing changed too much from the end of the second half. The Bulls were simply making their shots and the Kings weren’t. The Bulls took a commanding 69-50 lead with around eight minutes left in the quarter. Buddy Hield drilled back-to-back threes but the lead still stayed above double digits. The Kings were able to cut it down to nine, but within a few plays it went back up to 17 just like that. Sacramento cut the lead again to end the quarter 84-74 with a 7-0 run led by Yogi Ferrell. Zach LaVine had a big quarter for the Bulls after a quiet first to take his point total to 18, including shooting 3-5 from deep. Holmes led the Kings with 16 points and five rebounds on 7-8 shooting. Sacramento struggled from three, going 7-25 (28%) to the Bulls’ 11-27 (42.3%).
The fourth had back and forth action with six minutes remaining. The Kings had a run to make it 92-86, but the Bulls answered with their own run and it became 98-88. Sacramento made good shots and started to clamp down on defense, getting turnovers and missed shots to make it 102-100 with two minutes left. LaVine hit a three, then Buddy made three free throws and the lead became 107-103 Chicago with 32 seconds left. Free throws would close it out 113-106.
Richaun Holmes was fantastic today, doing a bit of everything. His shots in the paint are almost a guarantee to fall and his constant effort showed again despite the loss. He finished with 20 points on 9-12 shooting, nine rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block.
Nemanja Bjelica additionally chipped in with a bit of everything. Bjelica finished with 18 points on 7-10 shooting, eight rebounds, two assists, one steal and two blocks.
Buddy Hield led the Kings in scoring with 26, but his three ball has been abandoning him lately. Today, he shot a poor 3-13 from three and 9-21 overall. He added five rebounds, four assists and a steal.
Harrison Barnes struggled from three as well going 1-5 and ended the game with 16 points, three rebounds and an assist.
The Kings were 9-33 from deep (27.3%) compared to the Bulls’ 16-37 (43.2%). They were also 17-20 from the stripe (85%).
The Kings had more rebounds at 41-32 and more assists at 22-20.
Sacramento was able to outscore the Bulls in the fast break 11-7 and points in the paint at 46-40.
The Kings additionally had five blocks to Chicago’s zero.
The Kings have another road trip that starts with Portland this Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. PST. The Blazers will be coming off a game against the Los Angeles Clippers.