SACRAMENTO, Calif. – E’Twaun Moore scored a career-high 24 points while starting in place of injured Jimmy Butler, and the Chicago Bulls overcame a sloppy finish to beat the Sacramento Kings 107-102 on Wednesday night.
Pau Gasol added 16 points, 13 rebounds and made two free throws with 4.3 seconds remaining to help the Bulls to their first win in Sacramento in more than four years. Derrick Rose had 21 points and nine assists while Taj Gibson scored 12.
The Bulls led 101-92 with 2:40 left but struggled to close out the Kings. Chicago committed two turnovers and made only one basket down the stretch before pulling out the win at the free-throw line.
DeMarcus Cousins had 30 points and 11 rebounds in his return to Sacramento’s lineup. The Kings’ All-Star centre missed two baskets and two free throws in the final 40 seconds.
Moore made just his fourth start of the season after Butler Chicago’s leading scorer was ruled out with tendinitis in his left knee.
The Bulls didn’t seem to miss much without Butler.
Moore, who had 15 points in the first half, helped keep Chicago’s offence running and repeatedly burned Sacramento from the perimeter. He seemed to wear down late and missed two free throws with 10.4 seconds left, but the Bulls hung on to end their two-game losing streak.
It’s Chicago’s first win in Sacramento since Dec. 29, 2011.
Despite being without Butler, the Bulls had little problem scoring early. Chicago led by double figures most of the first half and got a big boost from Moore who had 13 points on 5-of-5 shooting including three 3s.
Chicago was still comfortably leading midway through the second quarter when Sacramento made a late push behind Darren Collison to cut the gap to 50-47 at halftime.
Bulls: Moore’s previous career best was 19 points against Oklahoma City on March 5, 2015. Bobby Portis got a little chippy after taking a hard elbow the Kings’ Omri Casspi in the second quarter. The two men exchanged words and came face to face before each was called for a technical foul.
Kings: Marco Belinelli made his second consecutive start and just his third overall in place of Ben McLemore, who has been nursing a sore wrist. McLemore had five points and three assists in 18 minutes coming off the bench. . Rajon Rondo was questionable before the game with a sore toe but scored six points and had nine assists. . Sacramento’s final four games before the All-Star break are on the road. . Former Kings player and current Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson sat courtside.