Enhanced Box Score: Kings 117, Bulls 114 – March 15, 2023

For the first time in a handful of games, the Chicago Bulls had Zach LaVine’s back.

As the max player struggled to set the tone with a 2-9 start from the field, the Bulls’ bench came out with the kind of energy and execution the team was looking for. They started the night outscoring the Kings’ bench 21-9. Coby White had a particularly strong first 7 minutes, knocking down his first three shots from behind the arc. Patrick Williams also added 7 points, 2 steals, and a block in what was an overall strong two-way effort from the team’s second unit.

Chicago was able to force the Kings into 10 turnovers during the first half and keep their first-place offense in check. All things considered, it was an impressive display, but we all know this team tends to follow stints like that with … well … 3rd quarters like that *points toward tonight’s smelly 3rd quarter.*

The Sacramento Kings came out with a vengeance. They broke out into a 14-2 run and ended up outscoring Chicago 37-22 to take an 85-80 lead into the 4th quarter. It was the role players that especially made their presence felt, with Malik Monk dropping 11 in the quarter and Kevin Huerter adding 9 points.

Still, the game very much felt within reach for the Bulls. They started the 4th quarter with back-to-back 3-pointers from Coby White and Ayo Dosunmu. From there, it was an epic back-and-forth battle between two fast and aggressive-looking teams. When the 5:00-minute mark passed, however, and the Bulls were down 100-99 … you could start to smell trouble.

The Sacramento Kings came into the night with an absurd 129.3 offensive rating in the clutch, which was BY FAR the best in the NBA. The main reason for that has been De’Aaron Fox, who walked into this matchup with a league-leading 171 points in the clutch. While it briefly looked like the Bulls might be able to outdo the Kings’ clutch greatness after DeRozan converted a crazy 4-point play to tie the game with 12.1 seconds left … Fox did his thing.

The Kings’ All-Star guard pulled up with Ayo Dosunmu in his face and drained the deep ball with 0.7 seconds left. It hurt … but it was a familiar hurt.

Every game matter at this point in the season, so we could be looking back at this (among many) in just a couple of weeks. The Bulls now fall further behind the Washington Wizards, who were able to surpass them again last night for the No. 10 seed. And things aren’t getting any easier either with the T-Wolves Heat, and 76ers (x2) making up the next four games.

Buckle up.

Check out the full box score here.

written by

Elias Schuster is the Lead Chicago Bulls writer at Bleacher Nation. He started with BN full-time in 2019 immediately after graduating from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign with a degree in Journalism (yes, he started with the Jim Boylen Era). Since joining, Elias has been the driving force behind Bulls and NBA content for both the site and social accounts. You can follow him on Twitter/X @Schuster_Elias.

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