The Bulls defeated the Sacramento Kings Monday 112-107, and you can say it was in a flash.
Because it was Dwyane Wade, known variously as “Flash,” who saved the Bulls from losing a 27-point lead with a pull up jumper and then a steal of an inbounds pass with the Kings trying to tie the game in the last 10 seconds. Wade finished and dunked the ball, DeMarcus Cousins was ejected and all was right again.
The Bulls moved back to .500 at 26-26. The Kings fell to 20-32 even after tying the game at 107 after the Bulls led by 16 to start the fourth quarter.
Wade had 31 points and Michael Carter-Williams 21. Robin Lopez had 17, Jerian Grant and Taj Gibson with 13 each. Cousins had 18 points and 14 rebounds.
The Bulls were without Jimmy Butler for a second consecutive game with a heel injury. Cristiano Felicio also was out with a leg strain. Butler could return Wednesday against the Warriors, though Felicio probably still will be out. The Bulls started Michael Carter-Williams, coming off a big game in Houston, in Butler’s small forward position. Carter-Williams continued in California with a pair of driving scores and a jumper as the Bulls raced out to a 20-5 lead, finishing that with a 14-0 run that sent the Kings to a pair of desperate timeouts. It was a 27-11 Bulls first quarter with every starter scoring and the Bulls shooting 58 percent and 26 percent for the Kings. The Bulls fell into like with jumpers to open the second quarter, and that becomes like dogs chasing cars. It doesn’t end well. Nikola Mirotic did make a pair of threes, but the mostly long rebounds got the Kings out running and getting inside, moving within 46-38 after the Bulls led 37-20 earlier in the second quarter. But Carter-Williams continued to surprise with his shooting. Rajon Rondo had a terrific steal and full court underhand pass for a Carter-Williams score and Wade and Robin Lopez set up Gibson for dunks. The Bulls regained the equilibrium and a 60-45 halftime lead on 58.5 percent shooting even with three of 12 threes.
The Bulls crowned the Kings to open the second half on the continued excellent Wade shooting. Grant got his second three in the midst of Wade’s worldly shooting as the Bulls streaked out to a 74-48 lead four minutes into the third quarter. Cousins seemed even more distracted than usual, holding the ball and pump faking for a pair of shot clock violations and pounding the floor in anger after failing to draw a charge. The Bulls led 82-55 after a Paul Zipser three, but again let the Kings penetrate inside for a 12-1 run. Gibson closed the third with a follow score on a Mirotic miss for an 85-69 Bulls lead. Then there was some dispute as Gibson was called for a technical foul and in questioning the official, Bulls assistant Jim Boylen tried to pull him away and was then pushed by Cousins and Matt Barnes, the Kings’ wacky pair. Again, the Kings made a move early in the fourth quarter as the Bulls left open shooters in giving help on Cousins. Sacramento got within 91-79 with 8:28 left. The Kings crept closer with the Bulls again without a closer with Butler out. With the Bulls unable to get much offense going, the Kings climbed within 93-85 with 6:50 remaining. The Kings kept coming and got the crowd back into the game as they cut a 27-point deficit to 95-92 with just over five minutes left in the game. Carter-Williams and Wade made plays for the Bulls, but Carter-Williams got tied up on a drive with 38.6 seconds left and the Kings got the ball trailing 107-105.