If you had the odd sense of having deja vu while watching the Chicago Bulls lose 104-98 against the Sacramento Kings, you were right. Not only did Chicago once again lose a huge lead and lose in heart breaking fashion, but it brought up memories of an even worse night against the Kings 9 years ago. December 22nd, 2009 was a day of horror for most Bulls fans as they watched Chicago let a 35 point lead slip away to Sacramento in a 102-98 loss. It was one of the most astonishing comebacks in NBA history. So while watching Chicago stumble all over themselves in the 4th quarter, one could not help but think about the other time the Bulls blew a lead like this.
After scoring only 9 points in the first quarter, Sacramento recovered and fought all the way back, fully catching up when Buddy Hield knocked down a three-pointer with 6:18 left to go.
From then on, it was all Sacramento as they took advantage of what Chicago gave them along with hitting some tough shots down the stretch.
This crazy sequence begins with Garrett Temple driving to the right corner against Jerian Grant. As soon as Temple gets to an area near the Bulls bench, he is met by the chest of Grant. He quickly reacts and shifts gears to his left and finds himself with a wide open driving lane. Both of the Kings big men were out of the paint and their two defenders in Bobby Portis and Paul Zipser were too far away to initially stop the drive. The Bulls do a good job of forcing Temple to miss the layup with Grant and Zipser defending. Then the ball bounces off the rim and it looks like it was going to be a simple rebound for Zipser. However, in the wackiest of ways, the ball ricochets off Zipser’s hands then off the backboard and into the arms of Willie Cauley-Stein. Meanwhile, Hield was on the other side of the court when Temple began to drive but was at the top of the key when he got to the rim. Hield’s man in Justin Holiday, took his eyes off of Hield during the rebound debacle to go cover Bogdan Bogdanovic who was open on the other side. It allowed Hield to slip out back to the three-point line where Cauley-Stein saw him and fired a pass out to the Oklahoma product. It was one of the easiest shots he hit all game as Hield splashed a three-pointer, prompting a Chicago timeout.
Bobby Portis answers Hield's three with a tre of his own to tie it! pic.twitter.com/M1D6aX02dd— The Render (@TheRenderNBA) February 6, 2018
To the Bulls credit, they recovered nicely thanks to a three-pointer by Bobby Portis. Portis received the kick out pass from Jerian Grant and was able to hit the wide open look. The jumper tied the game up with 1:15 left.
Then Chicago fell victim to a huge shot by the Kings which took the life out of them.
The sequence really picks up with Bogdanovic holding the ball with less than 10 seconds left on the shot clock. He’s about to get a re-screen from Cauley-Stein and is being guarded by Grant. Zipser, who was guarding Cauley-Stein down the stretch (yikes), has already stepped up to prevent the drive. After WCS sets the screen, Ziper stays on Bogdanavic too instead of trailing back to his man. It’s a smart move by Zipser as it corners Bogdonovic with minimal time left on the shot clock and it prevents a drive from the rookie since Zipser trailing back would have opened up a lane. With Grant going over the screen, it’s a double team on Bogdanovic and things look bad. There’s 2.7 seconds left on the shot clock so the option of trying to dishing it out to a teammate is out the window. It’s all up to Bogdanovic. He then takes one simple dribble crossover and pulls up for a prayer. The Golden 1 Center then loses its mind has his shot rattles in and gives the Kings a 3-point lead.
It was a lead the Kings would keep for the rest of the game. On the next possession, Zach LaVine missed a game tying three, then Portis missed one when the Bulls got the offensive rebound. It was a scramble to foul then, but they didn’t even seemed prepared for the scenario as they let Sacramento pass their way down the court, which was capitalized by a Cauley-Stein dunk.
The Bulls were short handed heading into the final quarter of this game, forcing them to play odd matchups down the stretch, like Zipser on Cauley-Stein.
Mark this down as a tank win but it was one which arrived in crushing fashion.
Zach LaVine breaks the rim
Say what you want about Zach LaVine but there is no denying he is a superb athlete and dunker. He put JaKarr Sampson on a poster with this one.
Zach LaVine dunk on JaKarr Sampson pic.twitter.com/VbqZu9K1oL— ⓂarcusD (@_MarcusD2_) February 6, 2018
Robin Lopez loses it
Oh snap Lopez gets a tech, and ejected.. He's pissed pic.twitter.com/DU5mSaAWfu— ⓂarcusD (@_MarcusD2_) February 6, 2018
It was a rough night for Robin Lopez as he was ejected with less than 5 minutes to go in the half by arguing a foul call. He was really frustrated by the officials in this one and let them have it before he left the court. Then he threw a chair before heading back to the locker room.