Chicago Bulls guard Dwyane Wade led the Bulls to a 112-107 victory over the Sacramento Kings after they coughed up a 27-point lead.
The Chicago Bulls were coming off a disappointing loss at the hands of the Houston Rockets a few nights ago and were looking to redeem themselves against the Sacramento Kings Monday night.
With a chance to seal the deal in that game, Dwyane Wade was stripped not once, but twice, by Trevor Ariza, allowing the Rockets to overcome an eight-point lead and come away with a 121-117 win in overtime.
Article continues below ...
Taking that fact into consideration — coupled with that fact that Jimmy Butler was out of the lineup for a second straight game due to a bruised right heel — Wade was going to be prepared this time around if this contest came down to the last few possessions.
Early on, it appeared that Chicago would not need Wade to play the role of hero as the Bulls jumped out to a double digit lead at halftime (60-45) and led by as many as 27 points with just over four minutes left in the third quarter.
But in what has become a troubling trend with this Bulls team during their roller coaster 2016-17 season, they simply would not make things easy for themselves.
Despite what proved to be an insurmountable lead, the Kings clawed their way back and managed to tie the game at 107 with 31 seconds left, setting the stage for a phenomenal finish from Wade.
After DeMarcus Cousins missed a free throw that would have given the Kings their first lead of the night, Wade took matter into his own hands on the ensuing possession. With Matt Barnes shadowing him, Wade calmly hit a jumper from the right wing, giving the Bulls a 109-107 lead.
Although Wade’s shot was huge, the Kings still had one last chance to avenge their controversial 102-99 loss to the Bulls when these two teams played at the United Center on Jan. 21.
However, Wade was having none of that. As the Kings attempted to inbound the ball, Wade intercepted a pass intended for Cousins, raced down the court and threw down an emphatic two-handed jam, which essentially put the game out of reach.
Wade finished the game with 31 points (his fifth 30-point performance of the season) on a very efficient 12-for-18 shooting from the field to go along with six boards, three assists, a pair of blocks and that memorable steal.
Even more important, 11 of those points came in the final frame when it appeared that the Bulls were on the verge of letting another win slip through their fingers.
“I kept telling the guys: If I’m in a position (Monday night), I’m redeeming myself,” Wade said, via the Chicago Tribune. “It’s uncharacteristic for me to get stripped twice like that. I wanted that game-winner in Houston and they hit the ball away, so I couldn’t sleep very well the last couple of days.
“I think we all needed it. That Houston loss was kind of one of those ones you let get away, and it hurts to let it get away like that. This wasn’t a perfect game by no stretch of the imagination. But when you’re playing on the road without your best player, it’s a damn good game.”
It was a good game indeed considering the victory enabled the Bulls to move back to the .500 mark and maintain a two-game lead over the Detroit Pistons for the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference.
Furthermore, with Butler’s return an uncertainty at this point, Wade has proven that he is still capable of putting up points in bunches — something the Bulls will definitely need during the remainder of this six-game road trip.