The Chicago Bulls continue their great start at home to the season and improve their home record to 6-0 as they thoroughly rout the Phoenix Suns without the help of Derrick Rose, who sat out today with a toe injury.
After an early 9-0 run and later a 12-0 run in the first half, the Bulls never looked back as they entered halftime up by 20 and pushed the lead to over 30 at some points during the game. Everyone believed the game would be defensively heavy... but it was a laugher as the Bulls provided their most dominating offensive performance of the season.
In a surprise to everyone, Rip Hamilton got the starting nod at SG for the Bulls, having not played in some time due to a groin injury, and he contributed with 11 points. But the bulk of the scoring for the Bulls came from the hand of Carlos Boozer, who shattered his season high in the first half alone with 26 points. He finished the game with 31 points on 14-21 shooting. CJ Watson also filled the shoes of Derrick Rose nicely, scoring 20+ points his own.
Bright spots for the Suns were the performances of Steve Nash and Marcin Gortat: Gortat with another double-double with 14 points and 15 rebounds, and Steve Nash with 25 points and 9 assists. They showed improved chemistry on the pick and roll, burning Carlos Boozer a number of times. Robin Lopez also showed some life, scoring 16 points off the bench. More after the jump.
Carlos Boozer going off in the 2nd quarter and the Bulls' 9-0 then 12-0 runs they pulled in the first half. They didn't look back after they grabbed that lead.
Steve Nash: 25 points (10-13 shooting, perfect from 3 with 3-3) 9 assists. Despite 5 turnovers (at least two should have been called fouls), Steve Nash was trying everything he could to keep his team in the game but the swarming Chicago defense stifled his teammates.
- Solid start for the Suns, a few jump shots sunk - a Nash 3 and we're off.
- Boozer can't defend the Nash to Gortat pick and roll - 3 trips in a roll executed to perfection
- Decent shooting for both teams in the first 6 minutes... but 3 turnovers for the Suns (2 on Frye)
- All of a sudden quick 9-0 run by the Bulls as the Suns try to push the pace, Suns timeout - having zero offense as you run backfires it seems. Note taken.
- Great Nash play out of timeout for 2 points (13-19)
- Great defense leads to a fastbreak no-look from Nash to Dudley for two - (17-21)
- Keef in for Frye with 4:40 to go - bring it rook.
- Ball so hard - Scalabrine couldn't phase me
- Nash and Gortat not only running the pick and roll well, exploiting mismatches with good regularity. Very positive here in the first
- Daring Boozer to shoot? OK he misses then Nash nails a 3 - good plan?
- It's like the Bulls can't miss. (21-29)
- Geez. Welcome back Rip. 3 FG's already.
- They said they have low scoring games here in Chicago right? WOWZERS. It's 31-39 in the first. Giving up 39 is never good I don't care what you say... but the Bulls were hitting very contested and decently defended shots. Got to have better D in the 2nd. But the bright side? The SUNS scored 31 points!!! WHOOOOOO!
- 2nd unit time! ... fouls... turnovers and wide open dunks for Asik time! (31-43)
- Warrick on Deng... interesting.
- Lopez in for Gortat - I want to see him bang with Asik, this should be fun
- Deng getting a foul called every time he moves towards the basket. Have to have better discipline and force him to the baseline - not straight to the rim.
- Price to Lopez pick and roll! Wut.
- Now Lopez backing down Boozer and drawing fouls!? Somebody pinch me.
- Lopez again posting up Boozer and cashing in. Very berry berry good.
- Suns hanging tight on the boards with the best rebounding team - 11-12 Bulls. 2 O-boards for each team to this point.
- 10 point deficit when Nash left... 10 point deficit when he returns. Not sure if we can ask for more from our bench at this point! Great showing from Lopez thus far.
- The only thing Batman has nightmares about? Brian Scalabrine.
- Michael Redd in and draws a foul going to the basket immediately.
- Boozer making all of his jump shots and Noah getting all the right bounces around the rim.
- Too many Suns turnovers (10) in the half already.
- Nash returns and the Bulls go on an 12-0 run. That's not supposed to happen. All thanks to Boozer who already has 22 points in the game with 3 minutes to go in the half. RIDICULOUS.
- Scoreless run finally broken by a Nash to Gortat alley-oop.
- Great interior passing by the Bulls. Very sharp looking team.
- It's all Gortat and Nash performing consistently at this point. 17 points and 7 Assists for Nash already and 10 points and 6 rebs for Gortat.
- Boozer comes out with 26 points in the half. Already a season high for him. Yikes.
- End of the second half. Suns down by 20. Ho hum. That's what a 9-0 run and a 12-0 run will do to you.
- Bulls 67 Suns 47. The Suns have to come back and play better defense in the second half. Cannot dare Boozer to shoot because obviously he was offended. Also we're going to need more offensive contributors. Story of the year.
- Two turnovers to start the half. Nash gets hammered... no call.
- We're all jump shots - all missed... and then Noah grabs an offensive rebound and slams it home amidst 4 Orange jerseys. This is not a good start to the half. Bulls 71 Suns 47.
- 3 minutes in to the 3rd and still no points for PHX.
- 7-0 run finally broken by a Channing Frye 2. (49-74)
- We get a defensive stop aaaaaaand then we commit a turnover. happens a lot today.
- Suns move to a zone on defense. Getting desperate.
- Rip rips the zone with a 3.
- Everything the Suns do, the Bulls do better. Nash hits a three, CJ Watson responds with one.
- Markieff not having a great day. 2 points 0 rebounds and 3 turnovers in 15 minutes so far.
- Make that 4 turnovers for Keef.
- This game is getting hard to watch even for me. (68-94)
- Brian Scalabrine is like a cross between a Ninja and Neo from the Matrix.
- Bulls 98 Suns 68. 30 point bludgeoning. Without Derrick Rose.
- Hakim Warrick goes to work right away with an O-board and a putback.
- Ronnie Price puts CJ Watson in spin cycle and scores 2. 4 quick Suns points in the quarter.
- Lopez in - No more Gortat or Nash? Probably not.
- Shannon Brown scores. CJ Watson doing mighty fine as Rose's replacement. 23 points early in the 4th.
- Steal by Morris = fastbreak layup by Brown 78-102. This is garbage time indeed.
- Robin Lopez with a great showing tonight, maybe the lone bright spot aside from Nash and Gortat.
- Brian Scalabrine a.k.a. White Mamba sighting. Attention. He is in the game.
- Scalabrine electrifying the crowd with jaw dropping assists and ball handling. All-star.
- Then Robin Lopez tosses Asik to the ground! Yeaaah buddy. Fear the fro.
- Game over. 97-118 Bulls.
With Derrick Rose sitting this game out I know we all got a little wide-eyed and wondered if we could pull off an upset, but Carlos Boozer had other plans. The same problems reared their ugly head in this game - inconsistent defense and inconsistent offense. Those are not two easy fix problems so we should continue to stay patient and temper our expectations accordingly. Nash and Gortat remain the lone consistent spots on this team so far - unfortunately everything else is so bad it really doesn't matter.
I'm having a hard time taking a positive away from this game other than the fact that the Nash to Gortat pick and roll chemistry is improving constantly. Where does that get us? Nowhere. We need the team to collectively elevate their energy and break the mental barrier of suckage at this point.
I guess the "Kiss from a Rose" Seal song was probably about a chick and had nothing to do about this game. My bad.
The Suns must move on as they face ol' Mike D and Amare in NY tomorrow.
Check out the Blog a Bull recap.