FINAL FROM THE UNITED CENTER:
Sacramento 98, Bulls 81 (Bulls: 17-30, 10-15 at home)
LEADING SCORERS: LaVine: 21 pts. Kings: Hield: 21 points.
LEADING REBOUNDERS: Bulls: Felicio:9. Kings: Hield: 8
LEADING ASSISTS: Bulls: Dunn: 6. Kings: Fox: 7
STAT OF THE NIGHT: The Bulls scored only 12 fourth-quarter points.
RECAP: In a game that featured two inconsistent, injury-depleted rosters, the Kings outscored the Bulls 23-12 in the fourth quarter snapping their six-game losing streak. The King's defense hounded Zach LaVine most of the night as Zach still managed his 13th straight 20+ game. The Bulls, however, felt the full effect of injuries to Lauri Markkanen, Otto Porter Jr., and Wendell Carter Jr. shooting 39% from the field, 21% from three-point range and attempted only 14 free throws.
Kings Head Coach Luke Walton switched up his starting lineup electing to bring the streaky Buddy Hield off the bench. Hield drained five three-point field goals, scoring a team-high 21 points in 23 minutes.
A quick turn around for the Bulls as they face another struggling team in Cleveland on Saturday. The Cavs have dropped six straight.
BULLS INJURY UPDATE: Chicago Bulls forward Lauri Markkanen underwent an MRI of his right hip at Rush Hospital on Jan. 23 which revealed an early stress reaction of his right pelvis. Following a period of rest, Markkanen will resume basketball-related activities with a full return anticipated in 4-6 weeks. Further updates will be provided as appropriate.
IN THE LOCKER ROOM: It's an unfortunate situation for not just him (Markkanen) but our team as a whole, a big blow to what we do, big blow to how our offense has been moving and operating." - Thad Young
Happy Birthday to the legendary Hall of Fame writer, Sam Smith (middle). Sam was enjoying a cup of ice cream with the iconic "Ligs" prior to Friday's game against the Kings.
24 SECONDS NBA NEWS AND NOTES:
"Game of the Night" Los Angeles Clippers 122, Miami 117: The Clippers handed the Heat only their second home loss of the season. Miami's other home defeat came at the hands of the Lakers. Miami goes to 20-2 at home. Kawhi Leonard posted his first career triple-double of 33-10-10.
Denver 113, New Orleans 106: MUST SEE TV's Zion Williamson scored 15 points in 21 minutes.
Houston 131, Minnesota 124: Russell Westbrook scored a season-high 45 points. James Harden scored a season-low 12 points. Over the last five games, Harden is shooting 33%.
Milwaukee 116, Charlotte 103: In Paris, Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 30 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as the Bucks won their eighth straight game and improved to 40-6.
OKC 140, Atlanta 111: A season-high point production for the Thunder as they won their fourth straight. Trae Young returned to the Sooner State, this time as an All-Star, scoring 26 points and dishing out a season-high 16 assists.
Boston 109, Orlando 98: The Celtics battled back from a 16 point first-half deficit and overtook the Magic. Kemba Walker scored 37 points.
Memphis 125, Detroit 112: Jaren Jackson Jr., a former star at Michigan State returned to familiar territory scoring 24 of his 29 points in the first half. The Grizzlies shot 54% and made 28 of 31 free throws.
Toronto 118, New York 112: The Raps have won six straight and improved to 31-14. I would hate to play this team (Toronto) in the playoffs.
Phoenix 103, San Antonio 99: The Suns snapped an 11 game losing streak in San Antonio. The on again-off again Spurs are four games under .500.
Indiana 129, Golden State 118: T.J. Warren scored 33 points. Doug McDermott scored 24 points in 24 minutes going 9-10 from the field.
Always a pleasure.