Chicago, IL – A balanced scoring attack in the absence of Derrick Rose is what the Chicago Bulls were looking for, and that's exactly what they got in a 93-87 season-opening win over the Sacramento Kings.
Joakim Noah totaled 23 points and 10 rebounds, Carlos Boozer added 18 and eight and Richard Hamilton netted 19 points in the victory.
Kirk Hinrich, starting at point guard with Rose still recovering from a torn ACL suffered in Chicago's first playoff game last April, shot just 1-for-7 from the floor but handed out seven assists and only committed two turnovers.
Rose is not expected to return any time soon and possibly not at all this season. Without the former league MVP, the Bulls lost their opening round postseason series against the Philadelphia 76ers despite being the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference for the second straight year.
Tyreke Evans scored 21 points to lead the Kings, who have finished in last place in the Pacific Division the past four seasons. Marcus Thornton and DeMarcus Cousins added 15 and 14 points, respectively, in the loss.
"I like the effort we put forth," Kings head coach Keith Smart said. "If we keep growing as a team I think we'll be okay."
Sacramento pulled as close as three points several times in the fourth quarter but never got over the hump.
The visitors were within one possession in the final minute after Evans hit a jumper with 41.2 seconds on the clock to make it 86-83.
After Luol Deng missed his first free throw and made the second, the Kings were whistled for a five-second inbounds violation, giving the ball back to Chicago with 35.9 seconds to play.
From there, Hamilton and Noah combined to go 6-for-6 at the foul line to seal the win.
"We can play better, but...it was great to get a win against a talented Sacramento team," Noah said.
The last time the Kings led was late in the first quarter. Evans started hot with 11 points in the opening 10 minutes, but Chicago scored seven of the next eight points to take a 25-23 lead into the second.
A four-point advantage, 44-40, at halftime ballooned to 14 when a Hamilton jumper four minutes into the third gave the hosts a 56-42 cushion.
Chicago was held without a field goal in the final three minutes of the frame as the Kings cut their deficit to 69-63 heading to the final 12 minutes.
Before the game, the Bulls appointed Hall-of-Famer Scottie Pippen senior advisor to the president and COO ... The Bulls swept the season series from the Kings for the third time in four seasons in 2011-12 ... Chicago has won five straight home openers ... Deng grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds to make up for a 3-for-13 shooting effort ... Thomas Robinson, the fifth overall pick in the 2012 draft, scored three points in 21 1/2 minutes for the Kings ... Chicago made 25 free throws, 12 more than the Kings ... Both team play again on Friday, with the Bulls visiting the Cavaliers and the Kings heading the Minnesota ... Taj Gibson, who after the game signed a multi-year extension with the Bulls, logged four points, four blocks and five rebounds.