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Kings falter in third quarter in loss to Bulls

Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah (13) drives between Sacramento Kings' Rudy Gay, left rear, DeMarcus Cousins (15) and Omri Casspi (18) during the first half.
Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah (13) drives between Sacramento Kings' Rudy Gay, left rear, DeMarcus Cousins (15) and Omri Casspi (18) during the first half. AP

Once again the Kings allowed a team to go on a big run and didn’t have anything left to fight back.

The Chicago Bulls turned a competitive game into a blowout with a big third quarter in a 104-86 win over the Kings Tuesday at United Center.

The Kings held their own in the first half and were down 57-49 to start the third.

The Bulls opened the third on a 17-4 run, sparked by the play of Pau Gasol, who scored 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the third.

“They got off to a 17-4 start in the (third) quarter,” said Kings coach Tyrone Corbin. “We tried to stop it with timeouts but it didn’t help. They just made shots and runs. We played a decent game up until then.”

The Kings (18-33) have now lost 12 of 14. They play at Milwaukee on Wednesday before the All-Star break.

The Kings failed to score at least 100 points for the seventh straight game. Meanwhile the Bulls shot 52.5 percent.

Gasol finished with 26 points and 16 rebounds. Derrick Rose added 23 points and seven assists. Chicago (33-20) also got offense off the bench from Tony Snell, who had a career-high 24 points.

Chicago All-Star guard Jimmy Butler left the game in the first half with a strained right shoulder.

Kings forward Rudy Gay returned to the lineup to score 24 points. He also had seven rebounds and five assists after sitting out Sunday’s win over Phoenix with a sore left foot.

DeMarcus Cousins had 15 points, eight rebounds and eight assists but shot just 5 of 15.

The Kings continue to play under Corbin awaiting the team to announce George Karl as their new head coach. The team was still finalizing the deal to add Karl Tuesday.

The situation has taken a mental toll on the squad but Corbin said the Kings haven’t stopped playing hard.

“They fight, they fight,” Corbin said. “Even when we don’t play our best basketball they fight through it. That’s all you can ask for.”

Follow The Bee’s Jason Jones on Twitter @mr_jasonjones and read more about the team at www.sacbee.com/kings.

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