Bulls 60, Kings 53 — HALFTIME
SACRAMENTO — The Bulls are rebounding nicely from their bust of a game against the Golden State Warriors two days ago. Derrick Rose is fired up, leading all scoring with 11 points. Speaking of rebounding, the Bulls have managed a pretty good game in the paint with 21 total rebounds.
But it’s who is getting them that is the surprise. Joakim Noah, the man usually on good end of that stat, has just a single rebound. Instead it’s the oft-critized Carlos Boozer who is leading in rebounding with nine.
In terms of the game itself, the Bulls came out strong in both quarters but ended them very poorly. Right now the Bulls hold a seven point lead on the Kings, which should easily be a double digit lead had the defense held up. That’s the Bulls forte and the fact it is struggling in two straight games is troubling. There is no layover excuse in this game, Chicago has had the past two days off.
Two Kings are in double digit point totals, Marcus Thronton and Tyreke Evans, the two guards for the Kings. With the notable exceptions of John Salmons and to an extent Chuck Hayes, the Kings have had no offense whatsoever that hasn’t flowed through their two guards. The Bulls inability to shut them down may prove troublesome down the stretch of the game.
Luol Deng continues his streak of being a factor with ten points, trailing Rose again by a single point. Having Deng be a serious scoring option is not only a surprise but a pleasant one at that. Having Deng be the option he is benefits the Bulls because the guy who is supposed to be the second or third option, Richard Hamilton, is actually coming around offensively after a slow start to his Bulls career.
Hamilton has eight points at the break and is looking like the guy the Bulls needed when they signed him.
The bug story is that the Bulls should have maintained the double digit lead they held on the Kings midway through the second, but they didn’t. They failed to close out the quarter convincingly and now have given the Kings room to nip at their heels. This is troubling, as it’s not far fetched to think that off the Kings can trip up the Bulls, that they will have to struggle to come back again. We saw this this team do it successfully against the Lakers on Christmas, but how many times will the Bulls have to comeback and not be able to do it?
Well we saw that happen in the Bay Area two days ago and if you want to win a championship, you need to drive the ship, not sneak up behind in a dingy.