In a game that will never be archived for its offensive efficiency, the Sacramento Kings fell to 2-4 on their season-long seven-game road trip Saturday night, dropping a 94-87 decision to the Chicago Bulls at the United Center.
Chicago (37-29) won despite shooting 40 percent from the floor, in part because the Kings (23-43) shot just 37 percent. The teams combined to shoot 8-for-34 from 3-point range.
Still, Sacramento trailed by only one going into the fourth quarter and after the Bulls went up by eight with 2:02 to go, DeMarcus Cousins hit a driving layup and Isaiah Thomas canned a 3-pointer to cut the Chicago lead to 86-83 with 1:29 left. Thomas hit a long jumper to make it 90-87 with 29.5 seconds left, but the Bulls made enough free throws and got stops to hang on for the win.
The Bulls showed why they are ranked No. 2 in the NBA in defensive efficiency, holding teams to just 97.8 points per 100 possessions. The Kings, meanwhile, fell to 0-12 this season in games in which they score fewer than 90 points.
Joakim Noah led the Bulls with 23 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists, five blocked shots and three steals. Taj Gibson scored seven of his 19 points in the fourth quarter, Mike Dunleavy tossed in 16 points, D.J. Augustin scored 12 and Kirk Hinrich added 10.
Thomas had 26 points and five assists for the Kings, but was 7-for-18 from the floor. Cousins finished with 25 points, 14 rebounds and four steals and Rudy Gay scored 13 points.
Chicago’s Jimmer Fredette did not play in his first game against Sacramento since he was bought out two weeks ago.
Sacramento was 31-for-85 (36.5 percent) overall, 2-for-14 (14.3 percent) from 3-point range and 23-for-37 (62.2 percent) at the foul line. Chicago was 31-for-78 (39.7 percent), 6-for-20 (30 percent) and 26-for-33 (78.8 percent).
The Kings hammered the Bulls on the glass 55-40 and stayed in the game with a 20-10 edge in second-chance points.
Sacramento finally wraps up the long trip on Sunday when they visit the Minnesota Timberwolves at 4 p.m. Pacific.