Game 69: Chicago Bulls (36-33) defeat Sacramento Kings (27-43), 109-102
March 21, 2016
United Center – Chicago
The Bulls and Kings matched up well in the beginning, but the Bulls managed to take away a four-point lead at the end of the first quarter. Doug McDermott‘s back-to-back 3-pointers put the Bulls in position to take that lead heading into the second quarter, but the Bulls’ starters were the ones to extend their lead to 59-51 come halftime.
With such a lead, the Bulls easily extended their lead to double figures when they opened the third quarter, but things went downhill when the Bulls’ bench entered the game. They couldn’t slow down the Kings, so the Kings came out to outscore the Bulls 30-23 in the third quarter. This didn’t erase the Bulls’ lead, but it put the Kings in position to do so in the fourth quarter.
That’s exactly what the Kings did, too.
The Bulls starters stepped up in the final period, though, on both ends of the court. They put up 27 points and limited the Kings to just 21 points, their worst scoring quarter of the night.
Players of the Game
Gasol’s 14 points may not have been a team high, but he added 14 rebounds to go along with that for a double-double in 25 minutes. Not to mention Gasol’s double-double was the Bulls’ lone double-double. And this came on a minutes restriction in his first game back after missing the past four games with swelling in his right knee.
DeMarcus Cousins was a beast for his team despite the loss, posting a whopping double-double of 19 points on 6-of-14 shooting and a perfect 7-for-7 on free throws to go along with his game-high 18 rebounds.
The Bulls dominated from behind the 3-point arc Wednesday night by shooting 50 percent on threes. McDermott led the team, going 4-for-7 on threes. In fact, all but three of the Bulls’ made 3-pointers came from the bench — Mike Dunleavy had the three non-bench 3-pointers. The Bulls’ 3-point shooting prowess was especially helpful considering the fact they struggled from the free throw line: 15-23.
For once, the Bulls didn’t come out on top for the rebounding battle.
Cousins’ 18 boards led the Kings’ 50 total rebounds, and he was the lone King to grab double digit rebounds. Despite that, this advantage still helped the Kings stay in the game.
The Bulls will take on the New York Knicks at home Wednesday night.
Ashley is the owner/editor of The Bulls Charge. Follow her on Twitter at @wijangco12.