Bibby, Artest Propel Kings Past Bulls
Sacramento 105, Chicago 101 (OT)
CHICAGO, Feb. 14 (Ticker) -- Mike Bibby and Ron Artest left the Chicago Bulls feeling heartbroken.
Bibby scored 31 points and Artest added 27 and 14 rebounds as the Sacramento Kings snapped a four-game road losing streak with a 105-101 overtime victory over the Bulls.
Chicago chipped away at the deficit, closing to 99-97 on Kirk Hinrich's three-point play with 1:12 to go. But Brad Miller answered with a 22-footer and, after Ben Gordon misfired on the other end, Bibby drilled another jumper for a six-point advantage.
"(Bibby) shot the ball well," said Kings coach Rick Adelman, whose starters accounted for all but four of the team's points. "I thought the guys that started played real well. ... We've had a few overtime losses on the road, so it's good to get one."
The Bulls continued to battle, getting as close as 103-101 on Andres Nocioni's jumper with 8.3 seconds remaining. But Martin made a pair of free throws and Artest blocked Nocioni's desperation attempt from the arc to seal the win.
"It is painful," Chicago coach Scott Skiles admitted. "It's a game I feel like we needed to win, but we lost. It's getting to the point, though, where we are making some of the same mistakes over and over. We've got to get a lot of things cleaned up still."
A former Bull, Artest burned his former team by connecting on 11-of-23 shots, scoring 20 points after halftime.
"I enjoy my new role," said Artest, who was acquired in a trade with Indiana on Jan. 25. "Of course, playing off Mike Bibby and those guys, I enjoy the coach trying to put the ball into my hands and trying to make something positive happen out there."
Thomas contributed 16 points and 13 rebounds and Miller added 13, 11 and eight assists for the Kings, who held a 56-45 rebounding advantage en route to their sixth win in eight games.
"This road game was really important to us," said Miller, who played for Chicago from 2000-02. "Hopefully, it will help us to get a push into the playoffs."
Hinrich made a floater in the lane to give the Bulls an 86-83 lead with 3:03 to play in regulation and, after Artest answered with a tough layup, added another short jumper to restore a three-point game.
Darius Songaila pushed Chicago's advantage to 90-85, making two free throws with 2:17 to play. But Miller answered by driving to the lane for a three-point play and Artest tied it at 90-90 with a spinning lefthanded layup shortly thereafter.
"In the second half, Artest is just a man-child down low, so we had to help out a lot," Gordon said. "Those guys made big plays."
Both teams exchanged air balls in the final minute of regulation, including Hinrich's potential game-winning 3-pointer that failed to hit rim as the buzzer sounded.
"It was a tough game and both teams struggled at times," Adelman said. "It just seems like it is never easy. We had a six-point lead and they were able to score down the stretch to make it interesting."
The Bulls' second-leading scorer at 14.4 points per game, Hinrich did not score in the first half, missing all four of his shots. But the third-year guard came up big thereafter with 21 points on 9-of-17 shooting.
"The bottom line is that you get down the stretch and every possession is real important," Hinrich said. "Just seems like we won't come up with the loose ball or just make a mistake and that costs us the game."
Gordon finished with 30 points and seven assists and Tyson Chandler grabbed 15 rebounds for Chicago, which has dropped six of its last eight games.
"I thought we gave it a good effort but weren't able to make the plays we needed to down the stretch," Gordon said. "The game went into overtime and they made more plays than us - it's that simple."