The Chicago Bulls got a bit of a scare from the sub-.500 Sacramento Kings on Monday night when the two teams faced off at the United Center, but the Bulls came away with the win, their third straight win in their four-game homestand.
The Bulls entered the second half with a 59-51 lead, so they easily extended their lead to double digits to open the third quarter, but that only lasted for about half the quarter. The Kings got into a rhythm afterward and then went on a 7-2 run to cut the Bulls’ lead down, 71-68.
When the Bulls put their bench in, they couldn’t slow down the Kings either. Rather, the Kings kept up their momentum and trailed by just a point at the end of the third.
The Kings used that momentum to get themselves out of the deficit and eventually build up a five-point lead.
Jimmy Butler made a shot to cut the Bulls’ deficit to three. Then DeMarcus Cousins fouled Pau Gasol, giving the Bulls an opportunity to easily get back in the game. Gasol made his pair of free throws, and Derrick Rose made a 17-foot jumper to give the Bulls back the lead, albeit a 96-95 one.
From there, the Bulls pulled away for the win while the Kings couldn’t find another run in them. To start, though, neither team made much of a run.
The biggest lead in the first quarter was a five-point Bulls lead that came as a result of Doug McDermott‘s back-to-back 3-pointer, but those didn’t even come until the quarter neared its end.
McDermott’s play would prove to be crucial for the Bulls to maintain that lead throughout the remainder of the half, too. Come halftime, he was the Bulls’ second-leading scorer at 12 points on 4-for-5 on 3-pointers just behind Taj Gibson‘s 14 points in the first half.
Six of Gibson’s points came in the second quarter and helped the Bulls extend their lead after the Kings made it a close one again. He, along with the rest of the starters, came back to close the quarter, and, with some good ball movement and defense, headed into halftime with the 59-51 lead.
Gibson ended the game with 18 points, as did Rose. McDermott added 16 points off the bench while Gasol posted a double-double of 14 points and 14 rebounds in his first game back after missing four games with right knee swelling.
Ashley is the owner/editor of The Bulls Charge. Follow her on Twitter at @wijangco12.