SACRAMENTO, Calif.(AP) Chicago won a game in Sacramento on Friday night for the first time since Michael Jordan was wearing a Bulls uniform.
Ben Gordon and Luol Deng each scored 20 points for the Bulls, who defeated the Kings 109-88 for the first time since Jordan scored 33 points in that Nov. 23, 1997, game.
Joakim Noah was only 13 years old then.
"I don't know what to say,'' said Noah, who had 17 points, two short of his career high. "It was a win we desperately needed. We're not that far from a playoff berth, we need to start making a run.''
After their fifth straight loss Sunday in Minnesota to start a seven-game trip, the Bulls have won two in a row. This one was relatively easy with the Bulls building a 34-22 lead after one quarter and keeping the margin mostly in double figures the rest of the game.
Tyrus Thomas had 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Kirk Heinrich added 11 points and seven assists for Chicago, which had lost 13 of its previous 19. The Bulls had little time to savor the win because they are facing Phoenix on Saturday with Noah likely matching up against Shaquille O'Neal instead of the Kings' Brad Miller.
"I'm happy we won and to be able to be a part of it, but tomorrow is Shaq so you don't want to get too high,'' Noah said.
Rookie point guard Derrick Rose had 11 assists but only scored four points for Chicago. It was only the fifth time this season Rose had not scored in double figures.
Kevin Martin scored 27 points for the Kings, who have lost eight straight, matching their longest losing streak of the season. Sacramento has dropped 20 of 23 and has the worst record in the Western Conference at 10-38.
John Salmons had 16 points and Jason Thompson contributed 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Kings, who shot 37 percent and had 22 turnovers.
"I would say it was a terrible effort across the board,'' Kings backup center Spencer Hawes said. "We came out and let them do what they wanted to do. I don't think there is any good we can take out of this game.''
It appeared the Kings' frustrated fans would agree with Hawes. Boos could be heard throughout the third quarter, during which the Bulls outscored Sacramento 29-20. Chicago continued to benefit from a lethargic defense by the Kings, who have now given up 106 points or more in 10 straight games.
Although Noah struggled at the free-throw line, making one of five, he had numerous dunks off pick-and-roll plays or hustling down court as the trailer on fast breaks. Gordon scored 11 points in the third and Noah had eight, helping the Bulls take an 83-63 lead into the fourth quarter.
"We're going to have to do whatever we have to do to make this change because it's not fair to anyone - as a team, as an organization, for the fans - the whole bit,'' Kings coach Kenny Natt said. "We all deserve a lot better so from that standpoint I've was very disappointed in our effort.''
The Kings are now 0-21 against the Eastern Conference, the only team in the NBA without a win against one conference. Sacramento shot 37 percent and had 22 turnovers, including seven in the first quarter.
Deng scored 12 first half points for the Bulls, who went ahead 45-24 on a dunk by Aaron Gray five minutes into the second quarter. But Martin, who scored 19 first-half points, helped the Kings pull within 54-43 by halftime.
"We tried to a good job of capitalizing on their mistakes and pretty much hurt them every time they made a mistake,'' Gordon said. "We did exactly what we wanted to do, get two wins against two teams we should beat. We didn't play down to the level of the competition. That is not something we have been doing consistently.''
Notes: Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro was drafted by Sacramento in 1988 and played two seasons before leaving to play in Italy. ... Natt is 4-20 since taking over for Reggie Theus on Dec. 15. ... The Bulls made only 15 of 28 free throws.