|Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose (1) passes under the basket around Sacramento Kings defender Travis Outlaw (25) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011. (AP Photo/Steve Yeater)|
Bulls use fast start for 108-98 win over Kings
The Bulls ran off 15 straight points early in the game and never trailed again in defeating the youthful Kings, the NBA's youngest team.
Carlos Boozer had 16 points and 15 rebounds for the Bulls (2-1). Richard Hamilton also had 16 points, while reserve Ronnie Brewer led a productive Chicago bench with 12 points. Luol Deng also scored 12 points.
Marcus Thornton had 20 points and Tyreke Evans had 19 for Sacramento (1-2). DeMarcus Cousins, who fouled out in the fourth quarter, had 15 points and 12 rebounds. Rookie Jimmer Fredette scored 14 points and John Salmons had 12.
Trailing by 12 points, Fredette hit a 3-pointer and Evans followed with an uncontested dunk, cutting the Chicago lead to seven with 2:53 left. But the Kings could never get closer than that against the veteran Bulls, who made free throws in the closing minutes to secure the win.
Rose was in foul trouble in the second half and picked up his fifth at the 7:46 mark in the fourth quarter after fouling Fredette. Joakim Noah followed him to the bench with his fifth less than a minute later with Chicago ahead 96-86.
Foul trouble sidelined both Noah and Rose in the third quarter as well. Noah picked up his fourth foul at the 8:01 mark and several minutes later Rose walked slowly to the bench after also getting his fourth foul.
But with two of their stars on the bench, the Bulls were still able to stretch their lead to 85-75 heading into the fourth quarter behind the scoring of backup point guard C.J. Watson and the veteran Boozer.
Urged by coach Tim Thibodeau to play at a faster pace, the Bulls were on the run early, scoring 15 fast-break points in the first 16 minutes.
Chicago had a number of fast-break layups in the opening half when it led 60-53. Rose had 11 points and five assists for the Bulls, while Thornton had 11 points for the Kings.
The Bulls open the season with four straight road games, the final one coming Friday night against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Last season, the Bulls led the NBA in opponents' shooting percentage, and were the second-best team in terms of points allowed.
Notes: The Kings opened the game by missing 12 of 13 shots. ... The Bulls shot 56 percent in the first half and were aided by their bench, which made a combined 7 of 9 shots. . The Kings entered the game shooting 61 percent from the free-throw line. They made 20 of 34 attempts against the Bulls. . The Bulls took control early, scoring 15 unanswered points for a 19-5 lead midway through the opening quarter. But the Kings scored the final nine points of the quarter to cut the margin to 30-24.