for this game

Bulls blitz hapless Kings

Jan 31, 2009 - 6:47 AM By Tom Galland PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

SACRAMENTO, California (Ticker) -- One losing streak came to an end Friday at Arco Arena. Another continues to roll along.

Luol Deng and Ben Gordon led a balanced attack with 20 points apiece as the Chicago Bulls won here for the first time since November 1997, romping over the Sacramento Kings, 109-88.

The loss dropped the Kings to 0-21 this season against the Eastern Conference, and it was their 22nd straight setback dating to last season against Eastern foes.

"Basically we did exactly what we wanted to do, come out here and get wins against two teams we think we can beat," Gordon said. "We didn't play down to the level of our competition. We stuck to our gameplan and that's not something that we've been doing consistently."

The Bulls had rolled past the Clippers in Los Angeles on Wednesday and stand 2-1 on their seven-game road trip heading into Phoenix on Saturday.

"I don't care who we are playing," Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said. "Wins are wins. We have a tough back-to-back against the Suns. We need to build some confidence, especially in our younger guys. I'll take it."

Another sluggish start on their homecourt put the Kings in an all-too-familiar position - a double-digit, first-half deficit.

The game was tied at 12-12 before the Bulls went on a blitz, outscoring Sacramento by 21 over the next 10 minutes to grab a 45-24 advantage with seven minutes left in the second quarter.

The Kings rallied, as per the usual script, reeling off 11 unanswered points and closed the margin to 54-43 at the break. However, no stirring late-game comeback would surface as it had in recent losses to Washington and Milwaukee.

Chicago would not let the Kings back completely. The Bulls took advantage of a rash of turnovers from Sacramento early in the third to re-establish control.

Joakim Noah led a Bulls' dunkfest with three slams in a four-minute span to make it 75-57 with 3:30 remaining.

The second-year center was unaware that the Bulls had lost nine straight at Sacramento, dating to the Michael Jordan-era.

"I don't know what to say," Noah said. "It just feels good to win and it was a win that we desperately needed. We're not that far behind in the playoff run, and that's still something that is possible for us."

Chicago took a 20-point lead into the fourth, then put the game away with a 7-0 start that made it 90-63 and sent the fans scurrying toward the exits.

"Needless to say we came back home after this road trip and I thought we'd have a lot more energy, effort and determination to win the game tonight," Kings interim coach Kenny Natt said after the Kings' eighth straight loss.

Instead, he witnessed a lethargic and uninspired effort featuring 22 turnovers and just 10 assists from the beleaguered Kings. The Bulls took full advantage of the Kings' generosity, rattling the rims throughout the contest with an assortment of dunks.

"We tried to do a good job of capitalizing on their mistakes," Gordon said. "I think tonight we pretty much hurt them every time they made a mistake."

Chicago held the Kings to 37 percent shooting (28-of-76) while converting 56 percent of their own, tying a season high with 45 field goals made in their 81 attempts.

Kevin Martin led Sacramento with 27 points.

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