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Kings 103, Bulls 88
Bulls drop first road game, fall to 8-4 overall
SACRAMENTO - The Bulls fell to 1-1 on their long road trip and 8-4 overall in a 103-88 loss to the Sacramento Kings. After the Bulls took an early double digit lead, the Kings got out in transition for easy baskets and took advantage of an uneven Bulls reserve group as Sacramento shot 51.4 percent for the game and pulled away in the fourth quarter. Jimmy Butler led the Bulls with 23 points while DeMarcus Cousins had 22 points and 14 rebounds for the Kings and Rudy Gay 20 points. Joakim Noah had 10 points, 11 rebounds and again six assists.
The Bulls had a strong start as they went for a record seventh consecutive road win to begin the season. Continuing to shoot the three well, the Bulls made five of 11 in the first quarter to take a 29-22 lead that included a late 16-4 run. Rookie Nikola Mirotic was crucial in that stretch with a three and pull up jumper, though he would draw a fourth foul early in the second quarter. Again, that first Bulls substitution in the second quarter group struggled as the Bulls bench was outscored again early. Though it’s understandable with starters Derrick Rose and Pau Gasol still out with injuries. Both are questionable for Friday in Portland. The Bulls got outrun in the second quarter. The Bulls were holding DeMarcus Cousins down, but Rudy Gay shooting and Derrick Williams off the bench contributed to 10 fast break points and a 52-47 Kings halftime lead. The Kings began to open it up in the third quarter as Joakim Noah drew a fifth foul wrestling for a rebound with Cousins and in an outward show of disdain—similar to here last year when Noah was ejected for an open display against the officials—leaped in disgust and drew a technical foul. Cousins finally began to go inside, forcing the Bulls to help and opening up shooters as the Kings went up by 15 and took an 80-68 lead after three.
1. Jimmy Butler doesn’t think he’s a go to guy, but he better not tell his teammates. Once again the Bulls tried to rely on Butler’s offense as he led the Bulls with 23 points and eight rebounds. But no one else had more than 12.
2. Live by the three die by the three? The Bulls made five threes in the first quarter shooting five of 11. The rest of the game they were zero for eight on threes
3. Nikola Mirotic is moving to front of the young players class for the Bulls ahead of Tony Snell and Doug McDermott. With Gasol out, Mirotic is getting more opportunities and shooting and rebounding with confidence, though reaching and somewhat foul prone. He had seven points and five rebounds.