By Dan Bernstein– senior columnist

(670 The Score) It was a critical matchup of two teams vying for position, the Bulls and Kings both racing to the bottom in an effort to corral one of the top four picks in the last NBA Draft before lottery reform takes place.

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And Monday night the Bulls would prevail, by losing 104-98.

It looked grim early, as they went up 28-9 after the first quarter and led by 21 at the start of the second. But then the Bulls found a rhythm.

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Robin Lopez got tossed after two technicals, putting Cristiano Felicio into “action.” Zach LaVine started facing double teams and all that was left were mostly contested shots late in possessions. The Kings closed with a 63-43 advantage in the second half, and the Bulls’ work was done. They now stand just two games out of the league’s worst record after seven straight defeats, just ahead of the Hawks.

And more trades than just Niko Mirotic are likely before Thursday’s deadline, with Lopez on the block along with Jerian Grant, Justin Holiday and others. Kris Dunn is well advised to take his time in returning from concussion, and Lauri Markkanen missed the game while being a part of the birth of his son.

It’s all working out, with two first-place opponents up next in the Timberwolves and regrouped Wizards.

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Dan Bernstein is a co-host of 670 The Score’s “Bernstein and Goff Show” in afternoon drive. You can follow him on Twitter @dan_bernstein and read more of his columns here.