Suns-Bulls Preview

Phoenix Suns Status Check:
Record: 12-26
Division: 1-4
Conference: 6-12
Road Record: 2-17
Last 10 Games: 1-9
Streak: Lost 5
Last game: 99-79 loss to Brooklyn
PPG: 95.5 (19th)
Opponents PPG: 100.2 (25th)
Offensive Rating: 103.1 (21st)
Defensive Rating: 108.2 (27th)
Pace: 91.8 (12th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: .480 (20th)
Turnover Percentage: .130 (4th)
Defensive Rebound Percentage: .711 (27th)
Offensive Rebound Percentage: .265 (19th)
Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt: .169 (27th)
Opp. eFG%: .510 (27th)
Opp. TO%: .140 (8th)
Opp. FT/FGA: .202 (15th)
Leading scorer: Goran Dragic (14.4)

Stats from Basketball-Reference

Suns Injury Report:

The Bulls played three great quarters against a very good offensive team last night, and then nearly let that offensive team come back from a 25 point deficit. Chicago ended up getting the win, but it continued a trend of allowing opponents back into games that the Bulls should have secured.

New York shot 66.7 percent from the field and 85.7 percent from three in the fourth quarter to pull within five at one point. Chicago shot 63.6 percent in the final frame, but also turned it over six times to open the door for New York.

It’s happened all year for the Bulls. They build a big lead and then let it slip away in the fourth. It isn’t even the first time it’s happened against the Knicks this year. This is a surprising trend from a team coached by Tom Thibodeau, who never lets up and would continue to yell even if the Bulls were leading by 5,739,805 points. Perhaps he knows something that we don’t: that this Chicago team easily loses interest with a lead. I’m not sure, but there have been a bunch of games that the Bulls should have cruised in, but instead found themselves fighting late in the fourth.

Anyway, the Bulls looked great for much of the game and, even with that 41 point fourth quarter (the Knicks only scored 36 in the first half), came out of Madison Square Garden with their second win in that building this season, and third against the Knicks.

The task gets easier for the Bulls tonight, as they head home to take on the Suns. Phoenix has lost five straight games, including a 20-point defeat last night to the Nets. Jared Dudley led the way for the Suns, scoring an efficient 18 points, but the Suns shot 39.2 percent as a team and their bench finished at 29.4 percent. Phoenix’s string of defeats has come against a respectable group though, as all of their losses have been to teams that are at least .500.

The Bulls should win this game. Phoenix isn’t a very good team, and they’re even worse on the road. The Suns are 2-17 away from home, with their last road win coming in November against the Cavaliers. They’ve lost 12 straight on the road, five consecutive games overall and are 1-9 over their last ten.

Chicago did need overtime to beat the Suns last time out that. Chicago had a 79-61 lead in the third quarter, but let Phoenix come back in the fourth…that sounds familiar. Carlos Boozer led the way for Chicago, tallying 28 points and 14 boards while Luol Deng and Joakim Noah each put in 21 points.

Luis Scola scored 24 of his own points and Sebastian Telfair dropped 17 off the bench before Phoenix fell short in overtime. The Bulls shot 50 percent from the field, and 50 percent from three compared to Phoenix’s 40 percent field goals and 28.6 percent on threes.

The Bulls really shut the Suns out in the extra frame, holding them to 2-8 shooting and forcing two turnovers. It makes you wonder why the Bulls let Phoenix back in it in the first place, or whether the Suns used all their energy mounting the 18-point comeback, and then had nothing left in the extra five minutes.

Chicago is 4-3 on the second night of back-to-backs, and as usual their key players got a ton of minutes last night. Deng played 42 minutes (and his best game of the season), Boozington played 35 and Kirk Hinrich put in 38. Phoenix on the other hand is 0-8 with no rest. Jared Dudley played 40 minutes and Marcin Gortat recorded 33.

All of these numbers appear to point to a Bulls’ win, but they also point to the possibility of a trap game, and the Bulls sleeping for more than just the fourth quarter. Remember, the Bulls lost to Charlotte in the United Center less than two weeks ago.

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