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Without Cousins, Kings hand Bulls worst loss of season

The SportsXchange

SACRAMENTO -- For the Sacramento Kings, it was like an out-of-body-experience.

The Kings dominated the Chicago Bulls from start to finish in fashioning a 121-79 victory before a surprised but jubilant announced crowd of 14,426 fans at Sleep Train Arena on Wednesday night.

The Kings (23-43) led by as many as 44 points against one of the NBA's best road teams (17-15). Sacramento did so despite not having the services of center Demarks Cousins, who injured his left knee Sunday when he collided with Milwaukee's Mike Dunleavy.

Tyreke Evans was at his attacking best with 26 points, while Isaiah Thomas led five other Kings in double-figure scoring with 22 points. Evans made 11 of 13 field-goal attempts and added seven assists.

Evans said there was not much difference on the floor playing without Cousins.

"We just had a lot of spacing, but it was pretty much the same," Evans said. "We were just knocking down shots and I think we just played together."

Overall, the Kings shot 54.2 percent from the field, who the Bulls shot just 38.6 percent, including two of 21 (9.5 percent) from three-point range. Chicago committed 17 turnovers while it forced just five by Sacramento, including one turnover in the first half.

Kings coach Keith Smart complimented his team's effort.

"Overall, I thought that our guys did a great job during the last two days that we had with practice," said Smart, whose team hadn't played since Sunday night in a home loss to the Bucks. "We wanted to play at a fast pace because their team has such a good half-court defense.

"I was shocked when I came into the locker room and found out we only had one turnover. We knew we had to take care of the ball, but just one turnover shocked me."

Thomas said it was good to be on the positive side of a game like this.

"We just opened the court up, played unselfish and we made shots," Thomas said. "When you make shots and the other team doesn't make shots, games like this happen. We played well and the Bulls just didn't play that well."

The Bulls (35-29) only had three double-figure scorers led by Carlos Boozer's 21 and Nate Robinson's 19.

"Just the fact that we lost was embarrassing," Boozer said. "It's hard to put into words."

Chicago suffered its biggest defeat of the season, while the Kings experienced their largest margin of victory this season. Sacramento's previous high victory margin was its 24-point advantage over Orlando.

The Bulls have lost four of their past five games and finish up their three-game West Coast road trip Friday night at Golden State.

Coach Tom Thibodeau put the defeat on his broad shoulders.

"Our level of intensity is very poor, our readiness to play was very poor," the coach said. "I'm probably most disappointed in myself. My job is to have them ready. We can't come out like that. ... I've got to drive harder and I will."

Sacramento clearly didn't feel the absence of Cousins, who sat on the bench in his sweat suit. The Kings held a 34-20 lead at the end of the first quarter by playing near flawless ball at each end of the floor.

The Kings shot 65 percent in the first period led by Patrick Patterson's 11-point, 5-of-5 shooting as he stepped in the starting lineup for Cousins. They didn't commit a turnover until late in second period and finished with five turnovers. The turnover committed was an offensive foul by reserve center Cole Aldrich.

Meanwhile, the Bulls spent the entire first half attempting to put together consistent stretches of successful offense against the Kings defense.

The Kings stretched their lead to a season-high 44 points in the third quarter. Sacramento didn't commit its second turnover until late in the third.

NOTES: The Bulls entered the game with a five-game winning streak over Sacramento. ... Chicago is in a stretch of five of six games on the road. ... The Kings registered 20 or more assists in each of the previous 11 games. ... Chicago's Joakim Noah has led the Bulls in rebounding during the past eight games and has had 10-plus boards in six consecutive games. ... The Bulls have held 33 opponents to fewer than 100 points. Conversely, the Kings have limited seven opponents to fewer than 90 points. ... Bulls guard Richard Hamilton was not with the team because of a lower back strain. ... Kings swingman James Johnson missed his second straight game because of personal reasons. ... Patterson, who was obtained in a deadline trade last month, is known for his versatility: "I like to think I'm well-rounded, but my second-year in the league I started to focus more on defense. I started watching more film and taking it more personally when people (attacked) me."
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