The Sacramento Kings went into Chicago looking to play spoiler. They gave the Bulls all they could handle for about 42 minutes and then fell apart. The Bulls survived the Kings attack to come away with the 109-102 victory.
Derrick Rose isn’t the same player that won an MVP trophy a few years back, but he’s still a tough cover. It wasn’t pretty, but Rose managed to hit for a team-high 18 points in the win.
With the Kings focused on slowing the Bulls guards, veteran forward Taj Gibson found gaps to exploit in their defense. Gibson came into the night averaging just 8.4 points per game on the season. He matched that in the first quarter and finished with 18.
The Kings gave Doug McDermott an inch and the second-year sharpshooter took a miles. McDermott torched the Kings from the perimeter, hitting 4-for-7 from deep on his way to 16 points. Pau Gasol chipped in 15 points and 14 rebounds and Justin Holiday came in off the Bulls bench to hit 3-of-4 3-point attempts.
Demarcus Cousins picked up his 44th double-double of the season before the two teams could get into the locker room for halftime. Cousins went to work in the post, finishing the night with 19 points, 18 rebounds, three assists and a pair of blocks. He struggled with turnovers, handing it over eight of the Kings 20 mistakes in the game.
For the second straight game Rudy Gay was a major factor early, scoring 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting. He struggled to get touches in the second half, finishing the night with 18 points on 7-for-11 shooting.
Darren Collison has been the rock for this team for the last two months and Monday in Chicago was no different. The speedy point guard hit for 19 points and four assists.
Needing more scoring to keep up, Rajon Rondo attacked the rim. He finished the night with 14 points and five assists, but like Cousins, he struggled with turnovers, giving it away six times in the loss.
Caron Butler came in and gave George Karl solid minutes off the bench, scoring 10 points in 21 minutes. Omri Casspi added seven points and eight rebounds and Marco Belinelli added nine points and four assists.
Collison is a difference maker. After starting for the Kings in Sunday’s win over the Knicks, Collison returned to his reserve role and flourished.
At the 9:30 mark of the fourth quarter, Darren Collison buried a 3-pointer to tie the game at 86-86. Less than a minute later Marco Belinelli dropped in another triple to give the Kings their first lead since the first quarter. It was all for not, though. The Bulls responded with a late 15-2 run to send the Kings home with their 43rd loss of the season.
Ben McLemore missed his eighth straight game with a non-displaced fracture of his right ring finger.
The Kings finish up their four-game road trip on Wednesday night when they take on the young and athletic Minnesota Timberwolves at the Target Center. They return to Sacramento for another Flashback Friday night at Sleep Train Arena where they’ll take on the Phoenix Suns looking to snap a seven game losing streak at home.