Deng helps Bulls hold off KingsFeb 15, 2012 - 5:23 AM Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Luol Deng had 23 points and 11 assists and the Chicago Bulls survived another game without Derrick Rose, holding on to beat the Sacramento Kings 121-115 on Tuesday night after nearly blowing a 19-point lead.
Joakim Noah added 22 points and 11 rebounds as the Bulls bounced back from a loss to Boston on Sunday and a 6-3 road trip to win for the sixth time in their last seven games.
Rose missed his third straight game with back soreness, although an MRI taken Monday showed there was no structural damage in his back. He is day-to-day. The Bulls improved to 6-2 this season without the reigning NBA MVP in the lineup.
DeMarcus Cousins had 28 points and 17 rebounds to lead three Kings players who scored over 20. Tyreke Evans added 27 points and Marcus Thornton had 23 but Sacramento's comeback from a 19-point deficit in the fourth quarter fell short in the team's third loss in four games.
"We got a chance to set a season-high in points," said Kings coach Keith Smart after they bested their previous mark of 114. "We fought and had a chance down to the wire and they made their free throws. But I thought our guys competed."
Taj Gibson scored two of his 15 points off the bench on a layup that gave the Bulls a 97-78 lead with around nine minutes remaining. But the Kings followed with a 14-2 run led by Cousins and Isaiah Thomas to trim the margin to seven points with around six minutes left.
The Bulls got it back up to 11, but things got hairy down the stretch as the Kings scored 20 of the next 31 points. Thornton's three-pointer over C.J. Watson with 14.8 seconds left cut the margin to 117-115.
Kyle Korver, who had 18 points off the bench for Chicago, made two free throws and Thornton missed a three. Deng then added two foul shots for the final score with 8.8 seconds remaining as the Bulls held on.
"It feels good to win. It's always great to win, but we have to be critical and understand that we need to play better," said Noah.
Earlier, Chicago had a 27-24 lead after the first quarter and a 56-52 advantage at halftime. The Bulls seized control by shooting 52.6 percent in the third quarter, getting 12 points from Deng to carry an 88-77 lead into the fourth.
Bulls have won four straight and seven of the last eight games in the series...Chicago signed guard Mike James to a 10-day contract on Tuesday but he didn't play. James, 36, appeared in three games with Chicago earlier this year and averaged 4.0 points and 3.7 assists before he was waived on January 28. He joined the team from the Erie Bayhawks of the NBA D-League...The Kings started a six-game road trip. They are just 3-13 away from home this season.
- SACRAMENTO: 115
Feb 14 10:36 PM
- SACRAMENTO: 77
End of 3rd
Feb 14 9:52 PM
- SACRAMENTO: 52
Feb 14 9:08 PM
- SACRAMENTO: 24
End of 1st
Feb 14 8:38 PM
- SACRAMENTO: 0
1st Quarter - 12:00
Feb 14 8:13 PM
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