Fox's three-pointer sinks Bulls at buzzer
|Thursday, March 16, 2023, 7:32 AM- -|
CHICAGO - Despite the struggles of this Chicago Bulls (31-37) team all season long, they still find themselves right in the middle of the playoff hunt with 14 games to go. After quietly moving back into the No. 10 seed in the East, Chicago was looking to keep moving up the ladder as they welcomed one of the more surprising teams in the League to the United Center on Wednesday.
Armed with the best offense in the NBA, the Sacramento Kings (41-27) have been impressive under Mike Brown this season and are on the verge of ending a nearly 20-year playoff drought, the longest drought in American professional sports. Knowing they would need an offensive output of their own, the Bulls played a near-perfect game for three quarters, including the first half that saw Chicago leading by 10 at the break.
Then came the third quarter, where the Bulls not only came out flat, but the Kings started to look like the Kings we have seen this season as they outscored Chicago 37-22 in the third to take a five-point lead. The teams continued to battle it out throughout the fourth quarter, with Sacramento holding a four-point lead with less than a minute to go.
That was when Demar DeRozan took it upon himself to collect four points the old-fashioned way, as his four-point play tied the game late and had the Bulls thinking OT. Sacramento, in particular, Deaaron Fox was having none of that as his pull-up triple with less than a second to go sank the Bulls and gave the Kings a 117-114 win.
DeRozan has been quiet the past month but was brilliant in this game. He led all scorers with 33 points and came away with several clutch shots throughout the fourth quarter. While DeRozan has been quiet lately, Zach Lavine has been on a tear and has put the team on his back since the start of February. Despite shooting less than 33% from the field, Lavine had a great night, finishing with 25 points. Nikola Vucevic chipped in with his best showing in a while, adding 20 points and 14 rebounds in the loss.
Apart from those three, the Bulls had some excellent production off the bench, with Patrick Williams leading the way with 13. Since moving to the bench, Williams has been more comfortable offensively, and his play on the floor has shown. Coby White also added 12 points on four triples, but it wasn't enough in the end.
The Kings have been a juggernaut all season offensively, and Fox is one of the reasons why. He came away with 32 points, including that clutch shot late in regulation to seal the victory. Along with Fox, you had the hot-shooting Milik Monk, who led the bench in scoring with 19 points and finished second on the team. Monk did most of his damage from behind the arc as he knocked down five triples.
Looking at the rest of the Kings starting lineup, you can see why they have been so good, as they get plenty of balance across the board. Harrison Barnes didn't shoot the ball that well, but he did a ton of damage from the charity stripe to finish with 17 points. Kevin Huerter picked up 15 points, with the ever-improving Domantas Sabonis adding 14 points and 17 rebounds in the win.
Windy City falls to the G-League Best Hustle
Not only did the Chicago Bulls have a tough matchup at home, but so did the Windy City Bulls (15-13) as they welcomed the best team in the G-League, the Memphis Hustle (20-6). With a handful of games left until the postseason, Windy City is very much alive, as every game counts from here on out.
The Bulls had plenty of chances to pick up the massive upset, but the Hustle showed why they are the team they are and survived the upset bid 116-112. With Carlik Jones signed to the Bulls roster, Windy City will see less of him the rest of the season, which will be a huge blow. Jones leads the G-League in scoring, and it will force this team to get more production across the board.
Terry Taylor has gotten that memo and has taken on the Jones role in recent games. Taylor led all scorers with 25 points and added nine boards. Marko Simonovic has quietly put together a great season, and his impressive play continued with a 21-point, eight-rebound showing. Windy City also got 18 points from Henry Drell and 17 points from Ethan Thompson, but it wasn't enough to top the Hustle. Memphis was led by Mathias and his 25 points, with Hurt adding 20.