Two years ago, the Sacramento Kings came back from a 35-point deficit on the road to beat the Chicago Bulls. Last night, comebacks were not allowed.
Down by as many as 15 points the Kings cut the Bulls lead down to one point, but each time the Kings threatened to take tie or take the lead, the Bulls countered with a run.
The Kings would go on to lose, 108-98.
DeMarcus Cousins had 15 points, a team-high 12 rebounds and a couple of blocks for the Kings, while Marcus Thornton finished with a game-high 20 points and Tyreke Evans with had 19 points.
Kings coach Paul Westphal cites transition defense and 14 missed free throws as the things that kept the team from winning the game.
“That says a lot for our team,” Kings coach Paul Westphal said. “But it also says a lot that we need to do that and you just can’t talk about it because being young or pointing the finger at teammates or whatever else — it’s not time for that. We believe we have a very good team.”
In the first game of the season against the Los Angeles Lakers, the Kings looked like a dramatically improved team from last season, making less mistakes. In the two games after, the reality of a shortened season has hit them hard as the team looks as if they’ve reverted to what it looked like last season, dropping to 1-2.
The Kings’ poor transition defense made it easy for Bulls guard and reigning MVP Derrick Rose to operate, taking advantage of it with his speed. Bulls forward Carlos Boozer said that they were a veteran team that knew how to keep the Kings from coming back.
“We just stayed poised,” Boozer said. “Got stops when we needed to and ran our offense like we needed to, to get the right shots.”
Boozer finished with 16 points and a game-high 15 rebounds for Chicago and Rose finished with 19 points and eight assists.
The Kings look to bounce back play the New York Knicks tomorrow on New Year’s Eve at 5 p.m. PST. All-Star forward Amar’e Stoudemire is day-to-day for the Knicks after spraining his left ankle in last night’s loss against the Lakers.