The Kings are one of the league's worst teams but they gave the Bulls a battle on Saturday night. The key for them staying close was an unexpectedly dominant night on the glass: the Kings won over 36% of their available offensive rebounds, and held the Bulls to around 16%. DeMarcus Cousins and Reggie Evans had 4 offensive rebounds apiece as the starting frontcourt.
However that Kings frontcourt is also a poor defensive one, and the Bulls bigs took advantage. Joakim Noah abused Cousins often, whether it was hitting 3 tornado jumpers in the game or a variety of dribble-drive moves and finishes with either hand. With a team-high 23 points, Noah continued his amazing all-around season, as he also had 11 rebounds, 8 assists, 3 steals, and 5 blocks.
Taj Gibson was the other hero of the night, finishing with 19 points in 26 minutes (on 6-9 shooting), and 3 blocks of his own. 7 of those points came in the final 7:30, a time where the game was tied but the Bulls put in their closing lineup of Taj/Noah/Dunleavy/Butler/Hinrich. They went on run to get the lead to 8, finishing with a 7-point victory.
DJ Augustin chipped in 12, as he and Taj (Bulls again with a barely-above-7 man rotation in this one) outscored the Kings bench, who had 12 in total. Another big key was 3-point shooting, as Augustin+Hinrich+Dunleavy went 6-15 (Dunleavy 3-6), while the Kings overall were 2-14 (Ben McLemore going 0-7). Isaiah Thomas had a game-high 26 points as both Bulls PGs struggled to keep in front of him, and his big 3rd quarter had this game tight up until that final push from the Bulls. Cousins helped with his 25 points, but Sacramento's 3rd big scorer Rudy Gay had a mere 13 on 5-12 shooting.
This looked to be a schedule win, but while Sacramento didn't make it easy, credit to the Bulls for securing one they should've. Another biggie looms as the Thunder come into the UC on Monday.