"I'm starting to sound like a broken record, but we had five guys
defend as one most of the night," Malone said after his team held
the Chicago Bulls to 28 percent shooting in a 99-70 rout at Sleep
Train Arena that snapped Sacramento's seven-game losing streak.
"That's how we have to play."
The Kings welcomed back center DeMarcus Cousins from a six-game
absence caused by an ankle injury, and he overwhelmed Chicago with
25 points and 16 rebounds while playing 34 minutes.
The big key, though, was Sacramento's defense. The Bulls made just
22 of 78 shots from the field, managed a combined 25 points in the
first and fourth quarters and trailed by as many as 30 points in the
Chicago entered the contest ranked 29th among the 30 NBA teams in
"It's a make-or-miss league," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said.
"You've got to be able to deal with it when you're not shooting the
ball well. ... We didn't shoot it well, and we didn't defend well."
Cousins, whose six-game layoff was his longest in his four NBA
seasons, recorded his 29th double-double of the season.
"To be honest, after missing 10 days and seven days, I wasn't sure
what to expect," Malone said of Cousins. "It's great to have him
back. He makes us a very different team, obviously."
Cousins had 11 points and seven rebounds as the Kings jumped to a
24-12 lead after the opening period. He did so despite the fact that
he said his conditioning wasn't nearly what it was before the
"I probably shouldn't have been playing, but I'm not the kind of guy
to let nagging injuries get in my way," Cousins said. "I was about
to pass out in the first quarter, but I've been bouncing off all the
walls in here with all the energy I've had."
Guard Isaiah Thomas added 19 points and forward Rudy Gay collected
14 for Sacramento, which was held below 100 points at home for the
second straight contest after reaching the figure in their previous
13 at home.
Guard Jimmer Fredette added 11 points off the bench for the Kings
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The Kings, ranked 28th in the NBA in scoring defense (104.6 points
per contest entering the game) and 30th in opponents' field-goal
percentage (46.9 percent), suffocated Chicago from the outset. The
Bulls made just four of 19 shots in the opening quarter and were
outrebounded 19-7 in the same frame. Chicago made just 10 of 41
shots in the opening half.
Chicago (23-24) finished 4-for-20 on 3-point attempts.
"We tried to pack in the defense and make them shoot jump shots,"
Fredette said. "We had success doing that."
Guard Jimmy Butler scored 17 points to pace Chicago, which was held
to its lowest point total in a regular-season game since Feb. 21,
2013. Chicago was held to 12 points in the first quarter and managed
only 13 in the final period.
Forward Taj Gibson and guard Tony Snell were the only other Bulls
players in double figures, each scoring 11.
Bulls forward Joakim Noah finished with just four points and four
rebounds before being ejected after picking up his second technical
foul with 7:40 remaining in the third quarter.
NOTES: Kings C DeMarcus Cousins received his NBA-leading 12th
technical foul in the third quarter and noted the "chippy"
atmosphere on the floor between the teams. Cousins seemed to have an
ongoing spat with Chicago F Mike Dunleavy during the game and
afterward called Dunleavy "a clown." ... Bulls F Carlos Boozer
expressed to Chicago reporters before the game his frustration at
coach Tom Thibodeau's rotation pattern in the fourth quarter, which
often has left Boozer on the bench late in games. Boozer did not
play in the final quarter in Chicago's previous two contests. ...
Bulls G Kirk Hinrich returned to the starting lineup and G D.J.
Augustin came off the bench. Hinrich was playing his third game
since returning from an injured right hamstring. ... Joakim Noah is
only the second Bulls center ever to be named to two consecutive
All-Star teams. Artis Gilmore was the other one. ... The Bulls' 11-4
mark in January was the NBA's best.
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