Rose-less Bulls hand Kings 121-115 loss

671366.jpg

Rose-less Bulls hand Kings 121-115 loss

BOX SCORE
CHICAGO -- Luol Deng figures the Chicago Bulls will have to find creative ways to win as long as Derrick Rose is sidelined.This wasn't what he had in mind. The Bulls will take it, though.Deng came through with 23 points and a career-high 11 assists, and the Bulls escaped with a 121-115 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night after a 19-point, fourth-quarter lead dwindled to two."Missing Derrick, even though we're winning games, it's huge," Deng said. "He makes the game so much easier. When he's not there, you've got to work extra."Joakim Noah added 22 points and 11 rebounds. Kyle Korver scored 18, hitting four free throws in the final 17.6 seconds. Carlos Boozer scored 16, Taj Gibson added 15 points, and the Bulls came away with the win - barely - even though Rose missed his third straight game with lower back spasms.The victory clinched the Eastern Conference coaching spot at the All-Star game for the Bulls' Tom Thibodeau.DeMarcus Cousins led Sacramento with 28 points and 17 rebounds. Tyreke Evans scored 27, and Marcus Thornton added 23 points for the Kings, who made things extremely interesting down the stretch.Two free throws by Evans with 19 seconds left made it 115-112. Korver answered with two of his own, but the drama wasn't over.Thornton nailed a 3 to make it a two-point game with 14.8 seconds left, but Korver immediately hit two more foul shots to boost the lead to 119-115. Deng then hit two free throws with 8.8 seconds left to seal the win."I've yet to fear this team being down," Kings coach Keith Smart said. "This team has shown throughout the year that they have the ability to get back in games."Winning them is a different story. Sacramento is last in the Pacific Division at 10-18 and is just 3-13 on the road.This seemed like a mismatch despite Rose's absence, but the Kings hung with the Eastern Conference leaders even when it looked like Chicago had put this one away.Sacramento was within eight in late in the third when Deng buried a corner 3 with just under a minute left. That started a 12-1 run that bumped Chicago's lead to 97-78, but the Bulls couldn't breathe too easily.They did, however, let out a big sigh of relief in the end."They're a tough team," Evans said. "They play together. They run that high pick-and-roll good with the bigs. They ran it all night on us and got a lot of fouls. That's what killed us."The dramatic win came on the heels of a 6-3 trip that matched their longest since the 1992-93 season, and they did it without their superstar point guard."I think our team has gotten used to guys being out," Thibodeau said. "It happened last year with our big guys and this year, it is more perimeter guys, so we have that all covered. We feel very good about our depth, and when we are down a man, the next guy steps up and does the job."The question is: Will the injuries take a toll eventually?Rose didn't have a target date for his return. Boston visits Thursday, and he wasn't sure if he'd be ready to play against Rajon Rondo and the Celtics. One thing was clear, though. Rose was certainly breathing a little easier.A specialist confirmed Monday that there was no structural damage, and that was a big relief for him and a team eyeing a championship. This hasn't been an easy season for Rose even though he's averaging 22.0 points and 7.8 assists. Between the bad back and a problem with his left big toe, he's missed eight games this season after sitting out six over his first three years."I think the best thing you can do is try to get better from it," Deng said. "If we had a choice, we wouldn't want him to be hurt, but that's the situation. We really think that it will help us. Guys are stepping up. Guys are getting playing time. We'd rather have this problem now than later in the year."Notes: Veteran G Richard Hamilton, who remains sidelined by a right thigh injury, rejoined the Bulls after tending to a family issue. He posted on Twitter that his grandmother died. ... G Mike James signed a 10-day contract. He appeared in three games for Chicago before being waived on Jan. 28. ... Kings rookie Jimmer Fredette, nursing an upset stomach, did not play.

Instant Replay: Kings crush depleted Mavs, snap skid

Instant Replay: Kings crush depleted Mavs, snap skid

BOX SCORE

The losing streak is no more. After dropping three straight on the road, the Sacramento Kings took down an injury-riddled Dallas Mavericks team Wednesday night, coming away with the 120-89 victory to improve to 8-13 on the season.

Rudy Gay aggressively attacked the depleted Mavericks frontline. The veteran wing finished the night with 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting and grabbed four steals.

With Gay putting up big numbers, DeMarcus Cousins went into the post and cleaned the glass. The Mavericks double-teamed the Kings’ star center for much of the night and he found open shooters and cutters exploding to the hoop. The two-time All-Star posted 24 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists in the win.

Darren Collison got it going early, scoring eight of his 19 points in the first quarter. The speedy point guard shot 5-for-10 from the field and handed out three assists.

Garrett Temple and Omri Casspi led a strong effort from the second unit. Temple dropped in 17 points in 26 minutes of action off Dave Joerger’s bench, including a perfect 4-of-4 from behind the arc, and Casspi added in 10 points on 5-for-7 shooting.

After starting 18 of Sacramento’s first 20 games, Arron Afflalo received the dreaded DNP-CD as Joerger went with Ben McLemore as the starter alongside Collison in the backcourt and came away with nine points.

Deron Williams got it going in the second half, scoring 20 points on 6-of-8 shooting. The veteran point guard dished out six assists, but turned the ball over four times in the loss.

Wes Matthews turned down an opportunity to join the Kings two summers ago. On Wednesday in Dallas, he blasted Sacramento from long range early, finishing with 16 points on 6-for-10 shooting from deep.

Harrison Barnes added 11 on 5-for-16 shooting.

STANDOUT PERFORMER:
Gay dominated the action. He had a bounce in his step and helped hold Harrison Barnes in check all night.

TURNING POINT:
Sacramento used an 11-0 run in the third quarter to build a 15-point lead and put Dallas away early. The Kings outscored the Mavs 29-12 in the third to take a 85-64 lead into the fourth.

INJURY UPDATE:
The Kings return home with 12 healthy roster players and another three rookies hanging out in Reno with the Bighorns.

WHAT'S NEXT:
After nearly two weeks away, the Kings come home to face the New York Knicks Friday night at Golden 1 Center.

NBA Gameday: Kings favored on road against depleted Mavs

NBA Gameday: Kings favored on road against depleted Mavs

Looking to snap a three game losing streak, the Sacramento Kings travel to Dallas to take on an injury ravished Mavericks team that sits at the bottom of the Western Conference standings.  

The Kings escaped New York with 12 healthy bodies, but they couldn’t get out of town with a win or avoid a little bit of drama. The loss dropped Sacramento to 7-13 on the season and veteran Matt Barnes found himself in some hot water following an incident at a New York City nightclub.   

Dallas is a shell of a team that is quickly heading towards a rebuild. Head coach Rick Carlisle’s team currently ranks last in the NBA in field goal percentage, free throw attempts, rebounds, blocks and scoring. They also rank 29th in assists and 27th in 3-point percentage.

OPENING LINE

Kings by 3.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Rudy Gay vs. Harrison Barnes -- Barnes is in his first season with the Mavs after leaving the Golden State Warriors for a mega-deal in Dallas. The 24-year-old wing is posting career-highs in points, at 20.9 per game and rebounds at 5.8. Gay is quietly having a very strong season for Sacramento in a free agency year. He comes into the game averaging 19.4 points and 6.5 rebounds per game.

WHERE THEY STAND

Kings: 7-13, fourth place in Pacific

Mavs: 4-16, last place in Southwest

INJURY REPORT

Kings: No injuries to report.

Mavs: C Andrew Bogut (knee) out, F Dirk Nowitzki (Achilles) out, J.J. Barea (calf) out, G Seth Curry (knee) questionable.

SERIES HISTORY

Sacramento took the season series against the Mavericks 3-1 last year, including a 104-101 victory March 3 at the American Airlines Center that snapped a 22-game losing streak for the Kings in Dallas. The Mavs hold a 91-65 advantage over the Kings all-time, and a 74-52 lead during the Sacramento-era.