SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau was standing next to his team’s bench late in the fourth quarter, hands in his pockets and a grimace on his face.
The pained expression and the negative body language were the result of another Bulls loss, this one in embarrassing fashion.
Tyreke Evans had 26 points and seven assists in the Sacramento Kings’ most lopsided victory of the season, a 121-79 rout of the Bulls on Wednesday night.
The Kings opened the second quarter with a 26-4 run against the lethargic Bulls to hike their lead to 34 points. It was an almost error-free first half for the Kings, who committed just one turnover and took a 65-36 lead into intermission.
The Bulls have dropped a season-high five straight road games and have a 7-12 record since beating Milwaukee on Jan. 30. It was the most one-sided loss all season for Chicago and Sacramento’s largest margin of victory ever against the Bulls.
“It was embarrassing, man. It’s hard to put into words,” Bulls forward Carlos Boozer said.
Boozer will get no argument from Thibodeau. The Bulls shot 38 percent, missed 19 of 21 3-point attempts, and committed 17 turnovers.
However, what was not in the stat sheet afterward was effort. The Bulls were lacking in that department as well.
“Our level of intensity was very poor. Our readiness to play was very poor,” Thibodeau said. “But I’m probably most disappointed in me. It’s my job to have them ready. We can’t come out like that, that’s on me. I have to drive (them) harder and I will.”
Boozer scored 21 points and Nate Robinson had 19 for the slumping Bulls, who lost their second straight and fourth in five games.
Short-handed Chicago played without injured forward Taj Gibson (knee) and veteran guards Richard Hamilton (back) and Kirk Hinrich (foot), who are all out indefinitely.
“We’re not playing well offensively or defensively,” said Joakim Noah, who had six points and nine rebounds. “It’s no time to make excuses (about injuries). We need to find a way to bounce back. We just have to move on fast and get ready for Golden State (on Friday). They are a lot better team than this team (the Kings).”
The Kings shot 54 percent, had a season-low five turnovers and scored 27 fast-break points. According to Elias Sports Bureau, it was the Kings’ largest margin of victory since Jan. 2, 1993, when they beat the Philadelphia 76ers 154-98.
Making his first start of the season, Patrick Patterson had 14 points and nine rebounds, and Jason Thompson had 12 points for the Kings, who snapped a five-game losing streak against Chicago.
“I was just picking and popping and my teammates were finding opportunities for me,” said Patterson, who came to the Kings in a February trade with Houston. “I was just being in the right place at the right time.”
At least for one game, it mattered very little that Sacramento played without DeMarcus Cousins, the Kings’ leading scorer and rebounder. He missed the game due to a sore left knee.
Cousins picked up his 12th technical foul of the season and was ejected from Sunday’s game against Milwaukee after picking up a Flagrant 2 for elbowing Mike Dunleavy in the head.
Though there was speculation Cousins would be suspended by the NBA and miss the game, the volatile center was spared of his third league suspension this season.
“We just opened the court up a little more (with Cousins out) and had our guards attack,” guard Isaiah Thomas said. “We were in attack mode from the jump. We know they’re a great defensive team and we wanted to just stay back in attack mode. I think Tyreke started it off and that got me going a little bit, then other people got going.”
There was no letting up in the third quarter for the Kings, who didn’t allow the Bulls to cut into their 29-point deficit. Thomas had 11 points and continued to push the tempo for Sacramento, which took a 93-60 lead into the fourth.
Evans had 18 points in the first half, when the Kings shot 58 percent. Sacramento began the second quarter with an 11-2 run and the lead remained in double figures the remainder of the game.
“It’s not so much the winning or losing right now, it’s the way we’re playing,” Noah said. “Is it the readiness? I wish I knew.”
It was a horrible first half at both ends of the court for the Bulls, who shot 35 percent, committed eight turnovers, and allowed 15 fast-break points. Boozer was the only bright spot for Chicago with 16 points.
Patterson helped get the Kings off to a fast start, making all five shots and scoring 11 first-quarter points. Sacramento shot 65 percent in the opening quarter and led 34-20.
“We need to get our swag back; get our confidence back,” Boozer said. “The only people that can fix it are in this room. (Maybe) we need a game like this to wake us up. The playoffs will be here in the blink of an eye.”
Notes: Former league MVP Derrick Rose worked out before the game. Rose, who tore his anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee last April, is still contemplating a return to the Bulls this season. . Evans has averaged 23.7 points in his last three games. . Kings reserve forward James Johnson missed his second straight game due to personal reasons. . Attendance was 14,426. … Marco Belinelli missed all nine shots for the Bulls, including five 3-point attempts.