The Bulls tried hard to throw away another late lead, but they did just enough and the Kings didn't in order to pull out a 107-102 victory to move to 2-2 on the road trip.
Playing without Jimmy Butler (THE BET IS KAPUT), E'Twaun Moore filled in more than admirably, pouring in a career-high 24 points on 9-of-16 shooting and 4-of-5 from three (good time to start hitting threes again). Moore also racked up five rebounds and four assists in a solid all-around game, that he of course almost ruined late with a dumb foul and two missed free throws because that's the Bulls way.
Derrick Rose got off to a rip-roaring start, distributing the ball nicely in the early going by racking up six first-quarter dimes. Rose played an excellent floor game in the first half despite not shooting the ball all that well, but things kind of fell apart for him at times in the second half. While he had some big buckets down the stretch, he also had a bunch of terrible turnovers that seemed, at least partially, to be a function of him being gassed. But on another positive note, TEN FREE THROWS! About damn time, and he finished with 21 points and nine assists.
Pau Gasol wasn't particularly good, as he added six turnovers to Rose's seven to go along with 6-of-16 shooting. Gasol also struggled to contain DeMarcus Cousins (30 points), but who doesn't really, and Cousins had plenty of sloppy turnovers of his own.
The much-maligned duo of Doug McDermott and Tony Snell actually weren't dumpster fires in this game, as they combined for 20 points on 8-of-16 shooting. McDermott had another nice dunk and Snell played some nice post defense on Boogie on a late play that saw Cousins throw up two wild shots at the bucket that missed.
The Bulls controlled this game throughout, and while the Kings threatened time and time again, they always seemed to do just enough to screw things up. Chicago took advantage of those foul-ups to keep the Kings at bay, despite some of their own gaffes.
It was nice to see the Bulls actually knock down some three-pointers, as they went 11-of-21 from long range and racked up 26 assists, facts that the broadcast made sure to point out time and time again. I couldn't help but think all the talk about "spacing" and "ball movement" and "shot distribution" were some not-so-subtle shots at Butler, whose shot selection has gotten pretty shady of late despite his generally stellar play.
This is another Bulls win that I can't get all that excited about considering how it finished (AND I WANT THE PICK), but at least they didn't completely piss it away in gut-wrenching fashion like they did in Utah. So we've got that going for us. Also, Woj says Mike Dunleavy is back Saturday, so there's your Bulls "trade" for the season.