The Bulls had been bumslaying even without Wendell Carter Jr. and Daniel Gafford, but Lauri Markkanen’s hip injury left them extremely shorthanded against another bum team in the Kings on Friday night. While the Bulls were able to erase a 12-point first-half deficit to hold a lead late in the third quarter, they ran out of gas in an ugly 98-81 loss. There would be no bumslaying or kingslaying on this night.
The Kings controlled the first half as the Bulls got off to a wretched offensive start. The Bulls shot 39.0% overall and 4-of-20 from 3 while turning the ball over 11 times in the opening half, yet it was still just a 10-point deficit at 54-44. A Zach LaVine explosion to start the second half (the Bulls’ first 10 points) got the home team right back in it, and Chicago even took a three-point lead at one point. The score was 69-68 Bulls after a Denzel Valentine bucket (his only bucket in a rough 11 minutes) with 2:20 left in the frame, but the Kings finished the quarter on a 7-0 run to take a 75-69 lead to the fourth.
The closest the Bulls would get the rest of the way was five points early in the final quarter. The Kings weren’t all that impressive offensively, but the Bulls managed only 12 points in the frame while shooting a woeful 4-of-16 from the field. Frustrations boiled over as LaVine and Jim Boylen were both assessed technical fouls just a little before Jimbo waved the white flag with just under three minutes to play.
The Bulls shot 39.2% for the game and 8-of-37 from 3-land while turning the ball over 19 times, so it was basically an offensive suckfest the entire night outside of a few stretches in the third quarter. LaVine led the way with 21 points, but it was on 8-of-21 shooting (3-of-9 from 3) and he had four turnovers to two assists. Chandler Hutchison (11), Kris Dunn (10) and Thaddeus Young (10) were the only other Bulls in double figures.
Buddy Hield led the Kings with 21 points off the bench after a lineup change removed him from the starting lineup. Sacramento snapped a six-game losing streak with this victory.
The Bulls are now 17-30 on the season. They have a road game in Cleveland against the lowly Cavs on Saturday, but being without Markkanen, Carter and Porter in the starting lineup is tough. If this game was any indication of what’s to come, things could get real messy.