Zach LaVine and his Chicago Bulls snapped a three-game losing streak tonight in Sacramento against the Kings. The managed to hold out hosts’ late push, and to win 113-106.
It is the seventh win of the season for Jim Boylen’s guys, who were led by fabulous LaVine. Chicago’s guard dropped 28 points, shooting 7 of 13 from the field, hitting five of his seven three-point attempts.
In the deciding moments, it was LaVine who took matters into his hands, and the hosts simply didn’t have a solution for him.
“There has been a lot [of ups and downs],’’ LaVine said about the last year and the fact that his Bulls still haven’t reached the full potential “It’s a growing process. We’re just taking it one day at a time. I’m just glad to get back on that winning streak. … We need to start to get it going before it gets too late.’’
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On the other side, Buddy Hield was trying to respond, but he often had a bad shot selection and was way below the needed level. He did deliver 26 points, but shooting 3 for 13 from downtown.
“We are a team. We are all in this together. There’s no blame to put on any one (player),” said Luke Walton after the game. “They play really really hard. Coming off a big win, you’ve seen this time of game in the NBA a million times. Unfortunately we had a little bit of a letdown.”
The Kings opened the game better and easily reached a double-digit advantage, but suddenly stopped in the late part of the first. Hosts were up 23-12, once they simply froze and scored just two points in next 6:10. During that time, Chicago dropped 18 buckets, completely changing the situation on the floor.
Throughout the second period, the guests were pulling all the strings and had a massive advantage, which was constantly over 10 points. The biggest one was 54-39, with a minute and a half before the break.
The same story was in the third, and the Bulls even had a bigger edge, in the late part of the period, 84-67. Sacramento showed signs of life early on in the final sequence, and as time went by, they started clawing their way out of the hole. With 3:18 to go, Harrison Barnes brought the hosts down to 100-98.
LaVine’s three with 1:15 to go, turned out to be the game-winning play, as it pulled away the Bulls to 107-100. The Kings had their chance to come back after that, but Buddy Hield missed all the shots in the crucial moments.
The interesting thing is that the Bulls had just three offensive rebounds, and in total 32 boards, yet they won the contest. The reason for that was an excellent three-point percentage, with Boylen’s guys hitting 16 shots in 37 attempts. Meanwhile, the Kings were 9 of 33.
“We got shooters and we want them to shoot. We don’t want Beli or Buddy passing up open shots,” Walton explained that regardless of the outcome, he would still want for his team to shoot threes, even if they aren’t knocking down.
Besides Hield, hosts had Richaun Holmes with 20 points and 9 boards, missing just three shooting attempts from 12 during the game, and Nemanja Bjelica with 18 buckets and 8 boards. Barnes added 16, while Bogdan Bogdanovic had 11 off the bench, but struggling with injury, and appearing on the court, although he was questionable for this match.
On the other side, Lauri Markkanen scored 20, had 8 boards, Tomas Satoransky added 14, and Coby White delivered 11 off the bench. Wendell Carter Jr. posted a double-double with 10 buckets and boards each.
Following a three-game trip through the West Coast, Bulls (7-14) go back home. First, they meet the Grizzlies on Wednesday, and after that, the Warriors on Friday. They recently lost to Golden State back in San Francisco.
The Kings (8-11) suffered a great setback with this loss, especially as they now have a very tough schedule. Walton’s boys head on a four-game road trip, starting in Portland, and then heading for San Antonio, Dallas, and Houston.