If only it had been that easy for the Kings all season.
Bogdan Bogdanovic made a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 52 seconds remaining and Sacramento overcame a dismal start with a strong finish to beat the Chicago Bulls 104-98 on Monday night.
The Kings scored just nine points in the first quarter, trailed by as many as 21 and were down by seven with 10 minutes left before rallying to complete Sacramento’s first season sweep of the Bulls since 2006-07.
“I did a fair bit of screaming Saturday night trying to get us to play and I couldn’t,” Joerger said, referring to a 106-99 loss to Dallas. “If you start doing on that on a nightly basis and they’ll not hear you. So I was trying to be very positive.”
After Zach LaVine’s follow shot tied it at 93 with less than 4 minutes left, Sacramento’s Buddy Hield and Chicago’s Bobby Portis exchanged 3-pointers. Bogdanovic then hit the go-ahead bucket for the Kings on an uncontested shot beyond the arc.
Willie Cauley-Stein added an emphatic dunk but was called for goaltending on a shot by LaVine that cut the Kings’ lead to 101-98. George Hill added three free throws over the final 11.4 seconds.
Bogdanovic had 15 points, Hill scored 14 and Garrett Temple added 12 for Sacramento.
The Kings became the second team this season to win after scoring nine or fewer in the first quarter. Miami beat the Bulls on Nov. 26 after being held to seven in the opening period.
“We didn’t drive into the paint as much in the second half, and we started making shots,” Bogdanovic said.
LaVine scored 27 points and Justin Holiday had 20 for Chicago. The Bulls, who lost center Robin Lopez to an ejection in the first half, have dropped seven straight.
Chicago was already playing without Lauri Markkanen, who missed his third straight game due to the birth of his child, and Kris Dunn. Markkanen was scheduled to join the Bulls in Sacramento but his flight was cancelled due to weather in Chicago.
“Best start we had in a long time,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “But then they ramped up the pressure on us in the second half and really bothered us.”
The Bulls led 28-9 after the first quarter while limiting the Kings to a season low for scoring in any period this season. The Kings were booed off the court after making only four shots.
Sacramento turned things around after that, scoring 32 in the second, 36 in the third and 27 in the fourth.
Bulls: Holiday had 11 points with three 3-pointers in the first quarter. . Coach Fred Hoiberg said Dunn is feeling better and is making progress from the concussion he suffered against Golden State on Jan. 17.
Kings: Rookie De’Aaron Fox limped off the court after scoring as part of Sacramento’s 19-6 run in the third. … Frank Mason continues to make progress from the partial tear in his right plantar fascia but the team said it plans to keep him out until after the All-Star break to continue the healing process. … The Kings announced that Hield was added to the Skills Challenge during the All-Star festivities. . Malachi Richardson missed his second game with a sprained left ankle.
EJECTED, NOT DEJECTED
Lopez had to be held back by teammates after being called for a second technical with 4:21 left in the second quarter. The 7-footer then reluctantly left the court and grabbed a chair in the tunnel leading to the Bulls locker room and tossed it.
“I disagreed with the call,” Lopez said. “I told him, `That’s bad.’ I’m not sure the reason behind the technical, but I supposed the officials are absolute and who am I to discredit that? I was a little bit surprised. In my mind, such a subdued response.”
Bulls: Return to Chicago to host Minnesota on Friday.
Kings: Host Portland on Friday night.