Salmons leads Bulls past former team, Kings |

Salmons leads Bulls past former team, Kings

The Associated Press

SACRAMENTO – John Salmons got a warm welcome in his first trip to Sacramento since he was traded to the Chicago Bulls.

It didn’t stop him from hurting his former team.

Salmons snapped out of his shooting slump with 23 points and the Bulls beat the Kings 101-87 on Tuesday night.

It was the first game with more than 100 points for Chicago, which was held under 90 in five of its previous seven games and entered with the NBA’s third-worst shooting percentage. The Bulls shot 47 percent and made seven of 12 3-point shots.

Salmons, who was shooting 31 percent through nine games, made nine of 18 shots, including three 3-pointers, and also had five rebounds and four steals.

“I heard the cheers and it definitely felt good,” said Salmons, who was traded to Chicago with Brad Miller last winter. “It’s nice they recognize what I did for the team while I was here. When I go to Philly (where he started his career) I get booed.”

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Making only his fifth career start, Donte Greene scored 24 points for the Kings, who had won four straight. Tyreke Evans had 20 points and Beno Udrih finished with 13.

Evans became the first Kings rookie since Lionel Simmons in 1991 to collect five straight 20-point games, but he made eight of 19 shots and committed four of Sacramento’s 21 turnovers.

“In our home arena we shouldn’t have that many turnovers,” Udrih said. “We have a young team that tries to go too fast sometimes. Those kinds of mistakes hurt us because they got easy layups.”

Luol Deng had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulls, who played the first of a six-game road trip. Joakim Noah, the NBA’s leading rebounder, finished with 15 points and 14 boards.

Jason Thompson scored with 4:25 left to cut Chicago’s lead to 92-83. But the hustling Noah had a tip-in and Salmons followed with a 3-pointer to give the Bulls a 14-point advantage with 3:16 remaining.

“The fourth quarter wasn’t pretty,” Chicago coach Vinny Del Negro said. “Joakim had a couple of tip-ins that were very big. It’s good to get a road victory with such a long trip coming up.”

It was the first matchup between Rose and Evans, who both played point guard for one season at Memphis State before moving on to the NBA. While Rose was earning Rookie of the Year honors a year ago with the Bulls, Evans took over the starring role at Memphis and later was the fourth overall pick by the Kings.

Fortunately for the Bulls, they were able to win on a night when Rose didn’t play well. He made two of 12 shots, finishing with 10 points and seven assists.

After building a 17-point lead with 4:49 left in the third, the Bulls suddenly went cold as the Kings pulled within nine on two occasions. But Salmons closed out the quarter with nine points in the final 1:44 to help Chicago carry an 86-72 advantage into the fourth.

“We got beat by a good team who was playing very well,” Kings coach Paul Westphal said. “They came out of their shooting slump at the wrong time as far as we’re concerned.”

NOTES: Andres Nocioni, who came over to the Kings in the Salmons deal, missed the game with a hip pointer. … Chicago’s Jannero Pargo hit a 3-pointer to end the first quarter and scored seven quick points in the second, giving him 10 points over a 54-second span. He finished with 12. … Bulls rookie forward Taj Gibson fouled out early in the fourth quarter after playing just 12 minutes.