All the drama surrounding the Bulls coaching change and subsequent shitshow led me to think that the Bulls would improbably win this game. The Kings are a lot better than expected this year but still the Kings, it’s the NBA and things happen (especially at home), and I dunno maybe the Bulls - fully formed again with Kris Dunn and Bobby Portis back in this one - would be galvanized or something.
Nope! At least they weren’t ‘embarrassed’ early, but a double digit halftime lead was quickly turned into a big deficit as the Kings outscored the Bulls 63-33 in the second half to beat Chicago 108-89.
D’Aaron Fox missed all of his attempts in the first half, but exploded in the second to shoot 8-10 and finished with a game-high 25 points. You’d think with Dunn returned and Cam Payne excised from the rotation that the point guard defense would be better now...
Offensively, they shot very well in the first half, over 53%, but the turnovers problem was showing itself with 13 even then. They wound up with a season-high 27 for the game. Zach LaVine led with 6 but Jabari Parker had the much higher rate with 5 in only 19 minutes of play. And the 3 point shooting was also a problem, with the Bulls finishing under 29% ‘led’ by Markken’s 1-8 and Holiday’s 1-6.
With Bobby Portis back along with Markkanen, Parker was put out there in some jumbo lineups playing small forward and Lopez at center. Between that and Portis not being a good defender, the whole team D broke down in the second half.
This "defense" from Jabari Parker pic.twitter.com/TfpSG5h7ch— Kings on NBCS (@NBCSKings) December 11, 2018
The Kings had a nice distribution of points with wings Iman Shumpert and Buddy Hield with 14 apiece, with Bogdan Bogdanovic and Marvin Bagley with 16 apiece off the bench, Bagley doubling up his former Duke teammate Wendell Carter Jr. Sacramento was over 43% on their threes in this one.
So the ‘narrative’ of the Bulls coming together after the weekend fiasco didn’t play out, and the Kings, turns out: pretty good! The Bulls are not good, they have a few days off - and likely some intense, gritty, passionate practices - before heading to Mexico City to face the Magic on Thursday.