“We stayed true to our game plan, it wasn’t anything different,” Michael Malone told the media after the win. “It was just a matter of executing, having a game plan, have discipline, keeping their guards out of our paint, and limiting them to one shot.”
The Bulls ran out ahead with a 29-22 first quarter, but the Kings stormed back with a spark from an unlikely contributor. Derrick Williams scored nine of his 10 points in the second quarter, which helped Sacramento take a 52-47 lead at half and allowed their new-look defense to clamp down.
“Derrick Williams, I want to give him some love, because he’s a young man who has not played a lot this year, but he stayed ready, he’s been working very, very hard,” Malone stated. “That allowed him to take advantage of the opportunity given him tonight.”
Chicago ended the match shooting 42.9 percent from the floor and 26.3 percent from behind the arc. After starting the game 5-for-9 from 3-point land, the Bulls went 0-for-10 the rest of the way. And aside from Jimmy Butler, who had 23 points, the Bulls couldn’t get anyone going, although ex-King Aaron Brooks had a nice showing with 12 points and four assists in 25 minutes.
DeMarcus Cousins, who faced off with reigning Defensive Player of the Year Joakim Noah, finished with 22 points on 9-of-19 shooting, 14 rebounds and four assists. Sidekick Rudy Gay notched 20 points with seven rebounds despite battling Achilles tendinitis.
“When you sign a $40 million contract, you cannot sit out on national TV,” quipped Malone.
Ben McLemore connected on three of Sacramento’s four 3-pointers and scored 11 points. Darren Collison chased down loose balls all night and produced an efficient 17 points, 12 assists, six rebounds and one turnover.
“Darren did a great job of running his team tonight,” Malone added. “And that’s something we talked about yesterday and today, how when teams go on runs and we face a little bit of adversity, you can’t be, ‘Let me make a play,’ it (has) to be, ‘We.’ And we have to run plays, we have to execute, we have to trust each other. And I thought at times tonight we did a very good job of that, and I think Darren, it starts with him.”
The Kings were out-rebounded 42 to 40, but they dished 26 assists to the Bulls’ 23, while beating Chicago in turnovers 13 to 14. Sacramento shot 51.4 percent on field goals and made the most of their free throws (23-of-27).
After defeating the San Antonio Spurs and falling to the New Orleans Pelicans, the Kings finish their homestand 2-1 and 7-5 for the regular season. The team will embark on a four-game road trip starting with the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday.
Notes and Analysis
- DeMarcus Cousins started the game 1-of-7 in the first quarter tonight in Sacramento, but you just can’t keep this guy contained all night long. The 24-year-old center carved up an exceptional Chicago Bulls frontline, finishing with 22 points, 14 rebounds and four assists on the night. Cousins posted his fifth straight double-double and his ninth in 11 games this season.
- Rudy Gay got in a good old-fashioned showdown with Jimmy Butler. After signing a new three-year, $40 million extension on Wednesday, Gay finished tonight’s game with 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting and added seven rebounds in the win.
- Derrick Williams hasn’t played much lately. In fact, he has only played a total of 5:41 over the Kings’ last six games. But tonight against the Bulls, the 23-year-old forward looked very good in his 22 minutes of action, dropping in 10 points off the Kings bench.
- Darren Collison is thriving in a Sacramento Kings uniform. For the second straight game, No. 7 dropped in a double-double, finishing the night with 17 points, 12 assists and six rebounds in 40 minutes of action.
- Omri Casspi continues to give coach Michael Malone solid minutes off the bench. Tonight in Sacramento, the 6-foot-9 forward scored 14 points on a perfect 5-of-5 from the field.
- Ben McLemore left his man early in this game and veteran Mike Dunleavy made him pay with a pair of open 3-pointers. The 21-year-old guard learned his lesson, holding Dunleavy to just 2-of-11 from the field the rest of the night. On the offensive end, McLemore scored 11 points, including three makes in four chances from 3-point range.
- Stat of the Night: The Sacramento Kings set a new season-high with 26 assists on the night. Their 13 turnovers led to just six points for the Bulls.
Quote of the Game
Michael Malone on the Kings’ statement win on national television
“I really don’t care if we’re on national TV or we’re on the home shopping network. It doesn’t matter. I just care about how we play. And if the nation was able to watch us tonight and got a kick out of watching the Kings, great, I’m happy about that.”