Note-A-Bulls: Bulls win by a hair thanks to a late whistle

After a rough night getting trounced by the Atlanta Hawks for three quarters Friday night, the Bulls looked to rebound against a perennially struggling Sacramento Kings team at home on Saturday. The second night of a back-to-back is always rough, and the Bulls have been known to demonstrate an inability to get motivated for sub-0.500 teams. But thanks to a questionable foul call on DeMarcus Cousins against Dwyane Wade with just seconds remaining in the game, the Bulls were able to hold on to victory, 102-99, improving to 22-23.

  • Neither team held any substantial lead, as it was neck and neck the whole way. The largest lead of the night was the Bulls by nine, but it was very short-lived, and only in the second quarter. There were 17 ties in the game and 15 lead changes. It seemed whoever had the ball last was going to win, and with Wade’s breakaway missed dunk coupled with a phantom shooting foul call on Boogie in favor of Wade, the Bulls got just that, as Wade’s free throw would be all they would need.
  • In a game that was so tight, with neither team holding a lead for very long, and neither boasting a double-digit lead, the difference may have been at the free throw line. The Bulls had a decided advantage of 28-16 from the stripe; Jimmy Butler made all 10 of the free throws he was awarded, while the bulk of the others (12) came from Dwayne Wade.
  • Wade had a solid showing, putting up 30 points on 9/20 from the field, six rebounds, four assists, and four blocks. He got to the charity stripe 15 times, the most out of any player on the court. Still, his +/- was the worst of any Bull, at -11. However, two of his three steals were on key possessions late in the game to help seal the deal. Up one, with under 15 seconds remaining, he picked Boogie Cousin’s pocket, leading to a Michael Carter-Williams dunk on the other end.
  • Jimmy Butler had a noteworthy game, per usual. Butler scored 23 points on 6/14 shooting, with five rebounds and seven assists. He struggled with his shot a bit down the stretch, which is rare for his superman status, and looked uncomfortable with the double team, but was able to be bailed out by his teammates. Butler is still proving to be by far and away the most valuable Bull on the court – in 39 minutes, he led the team with a +14, which is impressive, considering how tight the game was. In those 9 minutes he didn’t play, the Kings gained an 11 point advantage.
  • There aren’t too many sequences that we get to point to this year, so when one sticks out it’s a nice little bonus. One such sequence occurred tonight in the second quarter, after the Bulls began the quarter with a 24-21 lead: Rajon Rondo helped the Bulls get off to a fast start off the bench with a beautiful lob to Cristiano Felicio. The following possession, Rondo whipped the ball on a cross court bounce pass baseline to Paul Zipser for the corner three ball for a quick 5-0 run and an eight point lead.
  • We thought Doug McDermott may have broken out of his slump last week, with a 31 point showing against Memphis but has been just 5/18 for 12 points in the three games since. He had just three points on 1/5 shooting Saturday night.
  • A word about Boogie Cousins. He had a monster game: 42 points, 14 rebounds, and 2 blocks, and a couple huge threes and some clutch and impressive moves to the basket, but the Kings couldn’t get it done, as there was no other Kings player in double figures (yikes). He’s posted seven 40-point games in his career, but the Kings are now just 3-4 in those contests.
  • Up Next: The Bulls travel to Orlando to face the Magic on Tuesday, while the Kings are back at it Monday night in Detroit.
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