Kings suffer epic fourth quarter collapse in loss to Bulls

Mar 4, 2024, 9:57 PM | Updated: 10:12 pm

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 04: De'Aaron Fox #5 of the Sacramento Kings is guarded by Alex Carus...

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

No lead is safe for the 2023-24 Sacramento Kings.

A 22-point lead late in the third quarter was erased in the blink of an eye on Monday night as the Chicago Bulls pulled off a stunning 113-109 win at Golden 1 Center.

The loss was shocking and costly for Sacramento (34-26) as the Kings fell from playoff position to the seventh seed in the Western Conference standings. With 22 games remaining, the room for error is slim–but that isn’t stopping the Kings from dropping games against sub-.500 teams like the Bulls.

On a night that featured the return of De’Aaron Fox from a two-game absence, the main story instead will fall on another disappointing night for a Sacramento team that seems impossible to figure out.

Kings vs. Bulls Recap & Takeaways

It didn’t take long for De’Aaron Fox to knock off any rust he might have had following a two-game absence.

Fox capped off a solid first quarter with a buzzer-beating floater in the lane to give the Kings a 36-22 lead through one quarter of action. Sacramento ended the period on a 19-3 run while holding the Bulls to 38 percent shooting from the field, as only three Chicago players found the bottom of the net.

In true 2023-24 Sacramento Kings fashion, the second quarter was a different story on Monday night.

After shooting 54 percent from the field and 38 percent from deep during the first quarter, the Kings went cold to open up the second–and the Bulls took advantage of the opportunity. Chicago jumped a stagnant Sacramento offense by mounting a 22-5 run that erased a 14-point deficit and put the Kings in a three-point hole with three minutes to go until the break.

Thanks to the continued impressive play from Fox and Monk, Sacramento punched back with a 13-3 run to take a 56-49 advantage into the second half. Even after an eight-for-24 (33%) showing from the field in the second quarter, the Kings did enough to regain the lead and put themselves in a good position with 24 minutes to go.

A switch must have been flipped near the end of the second quarter, because Sacramento didn’t look back once they reestablished their lead.

Following rough starts for Domantas Sabonis and Kevin Huerter, both players found a rhythm in the third quarter as the Kings burst out of the gates with a 23-9 run that pushed their lead to 21 points. Sabonis, who scored two points on one-of-nine shooting during the first half, racked up 12 points (5/5 FG) to help Sacramento build the sizable lead.

Sabonis scored four of his five baskets off of assists from Fox, who did a great job of pushing the pace and finding his fellow All-NBA teammate in transition.

It seemed as if the Kings were on the verge of coasting to an easy win after they increased their lead to 22 points during the third quarter, but the wheels would soon fall off as Sacramento ran face-first into a brick wall in the fourth.

An 89-67 lead with 3:28 to go in the third would quickly turn into a deficit as DeMar DeRozan (19 points on seven-of-seven shooting in the fourth) and Coby White (career-high 37 points) took over late while the Kings’ offense–as it did during the second quarter–screeched to a halt.

“That shows you how quickly the momentum can swing in an NBA game,” Kings head coach Mike Brown said of his team’s late meltdown. “We had 18 turnovers for 24 points. That’s probably where the game was lost. I felt if we had done a better job of taking care of the basketball, the game would have been a lot easier for us offensively.”

Sacramento turned the ball over six times during the fourth quarter while shooting six-for-20 (30%) from the field. Chicago went on to outscore the Kings 36-18 in the period, while Sacramento went scoreless during the final 1:56 of regulation.

“We need to make the shots that we’re given,” Fox said of the Kings’ late-game execution. “When we have the lead, we know that this game isn’t over. Games swing in a variety of ways. We have to be better down the stretch.”

In a season filled with more ups and downs since before Mike Brown took the reigns as head coach last year, Sacramento added its latest devastating loss to a list far too long for a team that wants to contend in the Western Conference.

While the Kings are currently in a strong position to finish in a top-ten position, they hold just a two-game lead over the tenth-seed Golden State Warriors.

The fact that we still don’t know this true team’s identity through 60 games is alarming, but what could be even more unsettling is that this Jekyll and Hyde pattern could be who this team is, after all.


Tonight’s game vs. Chicago marked Harrison Barnes’s 200th consecutive start. Barnes is the seventh player in the Sacramento-era (1985-present) to appear in 200 straight contests, joining Eddie Johnson, Buddy Hield, LaSalle Thompson, Otis Thorpe, Jason Thompson, and Ben McLemore.

De’Aaron Fox finished his return with 20 points (8/16 FG), 10 assists, and one steal over 39 minutes.

Domantas Sabonis posted his 43rd consecutive double-double before fouling out in the fourth quarter: 18 points (7/19 FG), 21 rebounds, 4 assists.

When is the next Sacramento Kings game?

Sacramento will travel to Los Angeles on Wednesday night as they will look to create more space between themselves and the 10th-seed Lakers in the Western Conference standings.

With a win on Wednesday, the Kings can secure the regular season series and all tie-breaker scenarios between themselves and the Lakers. Sacramento has beaten Los Angeles in both matchups this season, with the most recent matchup taking place at Arena on November 15th.

Be sure to tune in right here on Sactown Sports 1140 for all of your Kings vs. Lakers coverage, beginning at 6:00 PM PST on Game Night before a 7:30 PM PST tip-off from downtown Los Angeles.

YouTube video

Upcoming Schedule

  • Wednesday, March 6th – Sacramento Kings @ Los Angeles Lakers – 7:30 PM PST
  • Thursday, March 7th – Sacramento Kings vs. San Antonio Spurs – 7:00 PM PST
  • Sunday, March 10th – Sacramento Kings vs. Houston Rockets – 3:00 PM PST
  • Tuesday, March 12th – Sacramento Kings vs. Milwaukee Bucks – 7:00 PM PST
  • Wednesday, March 13th – Sacramento Kings vs. Los Angeles Lakers – 7:00 PM PST

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