Acclaimed hip-hop artist KYLE once penned ‘I am just like DeRozan, if I shoot it, it goes in,’ and in the Chicago Bulls’ 125-118 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday, no lies were detected.
Despite missing Zach Lavine, Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso tonight, the Chicago Bulls came out on top behind DeMar DeRozan. The “King of the Midrange” got it from wherever he wanted, and was a defensive nightmare for Harrison Barnes, Damontis Sabonis and any other body Sacramento switched onto him.
Davion Mitchell was a late scratch in the contest ahead of his Rising Stars debut in Cleveland due to a hand contusion. Without his running mate at the guard spot, De’Aaron Fox was accompanied by Justin Holiday to start in the backcourt.
Fox came into the ball game efficient and aggressive, lacing together 14 first quarter points in a combination of beautiful beyond the arc shooting, off-the-glass prowess and thriving in the paint. When Swipa can turn that jets on so early in a content, the outcome is usually in the favor of Sacramento. His on-court connection with Sabonis has been a joy to see develop as the Kingdom to continues growing the small sample size of their tandem.
Trey Lyles made his debut for Sacramento, contributing 4 points in his first minutes of action. The allure of joining a new team has not worn off on the new cast of characters surrounding Sacramento, as everyone who checked in for the Kings played with a high level on intensity that is extremely refreshing.
The Kings were able to keep this game in striking distance for a majority of the contest, trading buckets despite DeRozan’s enigmatic stroke toward the cup. Chicago’s lead swelled to as many as nine by the third quarter, keeping Sacramento in the game were Fox and Barnes. Sabonis teetered into triple-double territory, providing a beautiful array of dimes to his running mates.
Donte DiVincenzo was emphatic on defense and a huge catalyst for keeping Sacramento in the ball game heading into the final frame 88-90.
The opening sequence of the fourth quarter was unkind to the Kings with Chicago ripping into a 5-0 run that swung momentum in the entirely other direction. DeRozan logged his sixth consecutive contest with 35+ points - and Coby White’s 30 points were an unacceptable dagger as the Bulls continued to fire on all cylinders while Sacramento struggled to get a stop.
A competitive finish heading into the All-Star break is exactly the momentum Sacramento needs to build on heading into the final quarter of the season. There were strong takeaways from this contest that will (hopefully) translate as the team departs for their brief hiatus as Off Night heads to Cleveland.