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Sinister Six: Bulls Extend Sacramento’s Losing Streak

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Sacramento has now lost six-straight games after holding a 12-11 record just under two weeks ago

An exciting 16-6 fourth quarter run by the Sacramento Kings made things interesting late on Saturday night, with the Chicago Bulls double-digit lead being reduced to two-points with just over eight minutes remaining in regulation.

Chicago would answer with a run of their own to put the game out of reach late, sending Sacramento to their sixth-straight loss.

The Bulls would use a 38-point night from Zach LaVine to defeat the struggling Kings by a final of 122-114 at the United Center, adding onto a miserable two-week stretch for Sacramento.

With the loss, the Kings fall to 12-17 on the season and 3.5 games out of the eighth-seed in the Western Conference.

For the second-straight game, the Kings were without two of their starters in Richaun Holmes (knee soreness) and Harrison Barnes (foot strain).

With backup small-forward Glenn Robinson III (knee soreness) missing his first game of the season due to injury, the Sacramento rotation was tested on Saturday night.

Head coach Luke Walton said that Marvin Bagley III and DaQuan Jeffries would both be on a minutes restriction after both recently returned from injuries, meaning that Walton had to get creative in filling out his rotations.

Even though Bagley was supposed to be limited, that concept went out the window late as the 21-year-old had quite a night, scoring 18 of his season-high 26 points in the first-half.

The third-year forward was extremely active on offense, leading all Kings scorers on 10-of-19 from the field to go along with 11 rebounds over 35 minutes of action.

“I’m not satisfied at all. I’m already thinking about tomorrow. We didn’t win, so none of that really matters,” Bagley said postgame of his performance.

Bagley was active for the entire fourth quarter, something that has not been seen this season. With Holmes and Barnes out, Bagley was the focal point on offense tonight and Walton decided to ride it out with his young big.

“Marvin was great tonight. The progress he continues to make, I am really impressed with,” Walton said postgame. “I went over the restriction, I asked him how he was feeling and he said he was feeling great. If a player tells me he feels good, I am going to trust that player.”

Buddy Hield scored 23 points on 10-of-21 shooting from the field over 35 minutes in one of his stronger offense performances as of late.

De’Aaron Fox just narrowly missed his seventh double-double of the season, scoring 20 points (seven-of-17 shooting) and dishing out nine assists for the Kings on Saturday.

Hassan Whiteside started for the first time this season in place of the absent Richuan Holmes, finishing with 12 points and seven rebounds in the loss.

Rookie guard Tyrese Haliburton put forward another impressive effort on Saturday, posting 16 points, five assists and two steals over 33 minutes of action.

For the first time this season, forward Jabari Parker saw the floor–in his hometown of Chicago, nonetheless.

Walton said pregame that Parker looked good coming into training camp, but an injury in the early days of camp left the former number-two pick out of the rotation.

In a brief showing, Parker scored two points on one-of-two shooting from the field over nine minutes.

Sacramento has clearly missed the presence of Richaun Holmes and Harrison Barnes over the past couple of games. Since the team’s loss to Philadelphia on February 9th–also the first loss of the six-game losing streak–the Kings have not had their full roster healthy.

Holmes, the NBA’s leader in field goal percentage and Barnes, who was enjoying a career-year prior to his injury, have been massive components of the team’s success.

With a tough test coming up tomorrow in Milwaukee, the Kings could use one–if not both–of the duo to improve their chances of avoiding a seven-game losing streak.

Coming Up

Things don’t get any easier for the Sacramento Kings, as they will play the second game of a back-to-back in less than 24 hours when they face the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday night.

With two-time MVP Giannis Antentokounmpo setting the league on fire in recent years, the Kings have struggled to defeat the Bucks over the past few seasons.

Sacramento is looking to beat Milwaukee for the first time since February 1, 2016.

Be sure to tune in for all of the action right here on Sports 1140 KHTK, starting with pregame coverage at 5:30pm PST with tip-off following at 6:00pm PST.