Sean Kilpatrick has his moment in the Bulls’ win over the Hornets
CHICAGO – Getting through an 82-game regular season is a chore in itself. Doing so in four cities is a journey – especially when it spans the country.
Sean Kilpatrick was on the East coach with the Nets in November and December before going to the Bucks. He was there through February before making his way across the country to the West Coast to join the Clippers. After a four-game stint there, it was back to the Midwest to join the Bulls in late March.
This is the life on an NBA journeyman, but even this voyage of a season is quite a haul.
It’s what makes a night like Tuesday good for a player like Kilpatrick – as he got his moment to show his best to his relatively new team and the fans just getting to know him. More specifically, 12 minutes.
Kilpatrick enjoyed his best quarter of the season as he scored 19 points in the fourth to add to his season-high 21 for the Bulls, who held off the Hornets late to win 120-114 on Tuesday night at the United Center. The team has now won three-straight, which like all season long is a bit frowned upon since it hurts the Bulls’ chances in the NBA Draft Lottery, but fans can feel good about Kilpatrick’s moment.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” said Kilpatrick to reporters after the game about his fourth quarter, praising his teammates for finding him in the right spot. “Stay aggressive I continually play hard.”
The guard was 6-for-11 from the floor in the final 12 minutes after going just 1-for-6 in the previous three quarters as he saw heavy minutes in the fourth quarter. Kilpatrick's three-pointer with 56 seconds left but the Bulls up for good as their record improves to 27-51 on the season.
"I've really liked him as a pro. He does a lot of things," said Hoiberg of Kilpatrick. "He fits well with what we're trying to do as far as creating long closeouts and getting into the paint, which he's doing a good job of now. He's not afraid of any moment, he's stepping up and hitting big shots."
Perhaps it's because he's getting big minutes for a banged-up, rebuilding Bulls team that ruled out Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, and Denzel Valentine for the year this week. His 20.5 minutes per game is nearly double the amount of minutes he got in either one of his previous three stops as he's averaged 11 points and 3.3 rebounds a game.
In postgame interviews, Kilpatrick praised his teammates for their help in getting him acclimated to the team over the past week-and-a-half.
"It's probably one of the closest teams I've ever been on. They just want to see everybody do well," said Kilpatrick. "They've been doing such a great job, they've been making sure I know the plays, I'm still trying to figure out plays. I'm sitting here on the court asking coach 'Where do I go, I don't know where to go sometimes.'"
"The best thing is they continue to keep coaching me through. I think that's the best thing about this group and the coaching staff."
After the game, they even helped him celebrate. Injured teammate Antonio Blakeney doused Kilpatrick with water as the team walked off the floor in honor of his strong effort.
Certainly it was one that was deserved for an NBA journeyman who may have found a home.