If anything else, the Suns played harder than they did against Atlanta. But in the end, the result was the same. A loss to the tune of 116-103.
As Suns fans, we are always impressed when they have all their starters in double figures. I imagine the Bulls fans are also impressed with the fact that THREE of their starters scored 27 points or more! That's pretty amazing. Luol Deng, Kirk Hinrich and Ben Gordon combined to score an amazing 85 points for the Bulls. On the other hand, the Suns five starters scored a combined 87 points.
The Suns had their chances to win the game. They even had the lead in the 3rd quarter. But for some reason the refs really were calling the game closely. Much more closely than the Suns are used to. There were a total of 62 fouls called in the game. And the problem was the refs weren't being consistent. With about 3 minutes left in the game, Amare Stoudemire literally got mauled in the paint and no foul was called. On the other end, Barbosa barely touched the Bulls player and was called for his 6th foul. However, while the refs were inconsistent and weren't really letting the players play, it wasn't the referees' fault that the Suns lost the game.
What lost the game for the Suns was their shooting/Bulls defense. They shot 40.7% for the game; 36.8% from the three-point line. They also got blocked 9 times.
Despite all of the bad things that happened in this game, I think there were some good things that came from it as well. First, Steve Nash got another game of rest. At one point, Jim Gray was interviewing Steve and, as is typical of his interviews, he tried to get Steve to say something controversial. Of course, Steve would have nothing to do with it. He answered the questions as best he could and I think Jim finally realized Nash was getting ticked because he ended the interview.
Second, Jalen Rose got some minutes. He only played for 6 minutes but that's much more than he usually gets. Pat Burke also played 13 minutes but they were mostly unproductive. He shot 1-6.
Third, Marcus Banks had another good game. Last game, the Banks haters said, "Sure he got 20 points but he had no assists." Tonight he had 7. He also shot 4-8 from the field.
Unfortunately, despite the good things that came out of this game, it still counts as a loss. The Suns are 6-4 in their last 10 games. But I would rather that Steve sit out the Wednesday game against Seattle and get a full 2 weeks of rest than play against Seattle and aggravate something in his shoulder or back.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on the game either in a Diary or in the comments below.