Noah leads Bulls to win over Kings
CHICAGO – Joakim Noah had 23 points and 11 rebounds, Taj Gibson scored seven of his 19 points in the fourth quarter and the Bulls held off the Sacramento Kings, 94-87, Saturday night.
Mike Dunleavy added 16 and DJ Augustin 12 for the Bulls.
Isaiah Thomas led the Kings with 26 and DeMarcus Cousins had 25.
Both teams struggled on offense, with the Bulls shooting 40 percent and the Kings 37 percent.
The Bulls, who are fourth in the Eastern Conference, improved to 3-2 on their six-game homestand. The Kings are 2-4 on their seven-game road trip.
Cousins hit a layup with 1:01 left to cut the Bulls’ lead to 88-85.
Gibson responded with a jumper and the Bulls made four of six free throws to seal the win.
The Bulls led, 48-43, at halftime before the Kings outscored them, 20-16, in the third to pull within one.
The Bulls have won four straight at home against the Kings, the only team below .500 to visit during the homestand.
Cousins scored the Kings’ first seven points of the second half to tie it at 50.
The Kings took a 55-53 lead on Thomas’ 3-pointer. The Bulls pulled ahead 64-57 after a 7-0 run, but the Kings made six free throws to pull to within 64-63 at the end of the third.
Noah had 17 points and five rebounds and Gay led the Kings with 10 points at halftime.
Noah scored 12 points in the first quarter that ended 23-23. Reggie Evans was called for a technical with 3:20 left after yelling an obscenity after he dunked.
The game was more competitive than the teams’ previous meeting. The Kings routed the Bulls 99-70 at Sleep Train Arena on Feb. 3, when the Bulls finished with season lows in points and shooting percentage (28.2).
Notes: Dunleavy’s right eye was black and he wore tape above it. He received 10 stitches after he caught an elbow when he drew a charge Thursday in the Bulls’ 111-87 win over Houston. ... Evans started at power forward for the Kings to match up against the Bulls’ front line. Malone said the Kings will decide who plays the position based on each game’s matchup. Derrick Williams has played both forward positions. ... Malone was impressed with G Jimmer Fredette, who played 41 games with the Kings this season before he signed with the Bulls on March 2. “He was always in the gym, even on off days, committed to getting his work in,” Malone said. “Even when he was not playing and part of the rotation, he never dropped his head, kept on working, kept on supporting his teammates. That’s why I think the Bulls at some point will be able to use him.” ... The Kings are 11-23 on the road.