The Bulls went BIG the entire game, trying to oversize the Suns while missing two of their top scorers. They played two rounds a lot, with Thad Young and Patrick Williams both crashing from behind. To that end, the Bulls dominated the boards, 50-32. I mean… come on now.
They continued Bulling the Suns and came within three with seven minutes remaining, but offense from Devin Booker and Chris Paul, and some defense from Deandre Ayton, kept the Suns in the lead.
Devin Booker set a new record season with 45 points on 70% of shooting. Chris Paul had 15 points and 14 assists. And the biggest steal of the night with 27 seconds left and the Suns up 5.
The Bulls did their best, given the missing guys, and deserved… a close game.
The Suns win, 121-116.
The Suns are now 33-14 on the season.
How did it go ????
The Bulls came out shooting, even without some of their top scorers, while the Suns just went through the moves to feel the play.
The Bulls’ starting lineup was HUGE there, the shortest player being Tomas Satoransky at 6’7 ”and they used that height to grab the rebounds and get a little over the top. The Suns failed to counter with their speed or ball movement.
Chicago was up 13-6 before the Suns woke up a bit. They closed behind a Jae Crowder trio of threes and eventually took the lead at 27-26 on a Cameron Payne float. Crowder and Devin Booker have scored 21 of the Suns’ first 25 points.
The Bulls just wouldn’t leave. They FEEL it, scoring 37 points in the first quarter on 56% shots, but the Suns kept the lead with hot shots to maintain a 39-37 lead after a quarter. Book and Jae combined for 23 points while 7 different Bulls scored in a very “everyone doing it” way.
The second quarter became a bit more normal for the Suns and Bulls, with the Suns taking the lead off the back of their second unit. Cameron Payne, who once had a disastrous stint with the Bulls that nearly ended his career, scored five quick points at the end of the first and also kept his foot on the accelerator in the second.
At the end of the half, the Suns were up 67-58 and everything felt fairer in the world. Ha.
At halftime, the Suns leaders were:
- Booker with 22 (out of 10 out of 14 shoots!) And 3 assists
- Jae Crowder with 10 points out of 3 out of 4 to three, all in the first quarter
- but the MVP was Dario Saric, who was a BEAST with 13 points (5/6, 3/3), 2 rebounds and 2 assists
How are the Bulls as close as 9? How about 10 offensive rebounds in the first half (5 by vet Thad Young) for 12 second chance points. The Suns are one of the most stingy teams in the league to give them up.
Devin Booker picked up where he left off, making a nice two against Patrick Williams. A little aside on Williams: he has a bright future as an energy guy, doing a lot of Bridges-type games on both sides. However, he can’t keep up with Devin Booker.
Here’s another side: Jae Crowder has stepped up his rim protection game lately, creating some pretty sweeping blocks that seem to catch all the balls more often than you might think. He had a great one on a Thad Young’s dunk attempt at the wheel which the refs initially called a foul because she was blocked so decisively. But the examination showed it was clean. Jump the ball.
The Suns were rolling, until 14 with a clean grip on the play, when they started to stumble a bit. It happened on a trio of bad offensive play from Ayton when he received the ball on the block and immediately got a double team and returned it.
The Bulls really stayed at the waist the entire game. Patrick Williams (6’8 ”) on Booker the whole game and two twins down with two from Vuc, Daniel Theis and Lauri in the game most of the time. Then Thad Young and Williams could crush the boards at the back. They cut the lead to 5 by not letting the Suns get any rebounds. Frustrating.
Thanks mainly to Devin Booker, the Suns have pulled out 94-86 after three. Booker has 36 huge points, he looks unstoppable. I just need it to stay warm in the 4th now.
And it was the Bulls who got hot, hooking up with the bigger guys on the team to keep getting those second chance points. They came within 3 points with 7 minutes left before Devin Booker returned to the game.