Kings pull out 1-point win over Bulls
CHICAGO — At this stage of their rebuilding process, the Sacramento Kings will glean confidence with every victory that comes their way.
But given the way that the Kings found a way to win on Friday night when they collected their third victory in their last five games, the self-assuredness tends to come at a faster pace.
Zach Randolph scored 25 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 19 points and Garrett Temple finished with 13 as the Kings held off the Chicago Bulls 107-106 at the United Center.
Bogdanovic capped the victory by splitting a pair of free throws in the closing seconds. Chicago’s Jerian Grant hit a 3-point field goal at the buzzer as the Bulls lost their eighth straight loss and suffered their second one-point setback in as many nights.
And on a night when two teams struggling to find their way battled one another to the end, the Kings (7-15) took another step in a positive direction.
“It was a tough game — (Chicago) hit big shots,” Randolph said. “They hit big shots and kept playing.”
Randolph added: “Any time you win on the road, it’s good. Any (opposing) team is tough especially when you go into their place and try to get a win. It was a good win. It was a team win.”
Willie Cauley-Stein also had 10 points for the Kings (7-15), who trailed by as many as nine points in the first half, but then made just enough plays down the stretch to pull out the victory.
With the Bulls trailing by two late in regulation, Holiday missed a 3-point attempt before Markkanen misfired from beyond the arc on Chicago’s next possession. Randolph pushed the lead back to four with 51.5 seconds remaining when he scored off an offensive rebound of a Bogdanovic missed jumper.
His final rebound may have been his biggest.
“Zach is awesome — you can see how smart of a player he is,” Bogdanovic said.
A Lauri Markkanen 3-point field goal gave the Bulls a 93-92 lead with 7:25 remaining before Sacramento responded and built a three-point lead on a pair of Bogdanovic free throws. After the Bulls got to within one with under four minutes to play, Bogdanovic hit a three-point field goal to extend the lead to 101-97.
“It was just one play — I think it’s more of a team victory,” said Bogdanovic, who hit 6 of his 12 field-goal attempts. “I think (winning tight games) builds some chemistry and some confidence as well.”
Jerian Grant scored 17 points to lead the Bulls (3-18), who also got 14 points from Markkanen, Robin Lopez and Paul Zipser. Cristiano Felicio finished with 12 and Justin Holiday finished with 11.
The Bulls had their chances in the final minutes, but just couldn’t hit shots or get the stops they needed to end their losing skid. And a night after they blew an 18-point loss only to lose by a point Thursday night in Denver, the Bulls — who, like the Kings, are rebuilding — were dealt another difficult lesson to learn.
“We’ve got to find a way to come out with more of an edge on the defensive end,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “Teams are just way too physical with us right now and taking us out of anything and getting easy baskets with our defensive coverages.
“We’ve got to find ways to get those stops in the end when it matters most.”
NOTES: Kings F Justin Jackson, G Malachi Richardson and C George Papagiannis remain with the Reno Bighorns of the NBA’s G League. Coach Dave Joerger said the primary purpose of having the trio there is skill development. Friday’s game kicked off a four-game road swing for the Kings. ... Bulls F Bobby Portis missed Friday’s game with a right arm injury. ... G David Nwaba played for the first time since Nov. 7 after missing 11 games with an ankle sprain. Nwaba Thursday night was active against Denver, but did not play because coach Fred Hoiberg wanted him to get some more basketball activity before returning to game action. ... The Bulls recalled F Nikola Mirotic, G Zach LaVine and G Kay Felder from the Windy City Bulls of the G League on Friday. Mirotic worked out with Windy City on Thursday before returning to practice along with LaVine with the Bulls on Friday.