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Suns Wilt Under Bulls' Gritty Comeback, 115-123 in 2OT



No, that's not the sequence from LOST. And it was not discovered by Mr. Fibonacci.

That's the Suns' scoring totals in 4 quarters + 2 overtimes. And that's not gonna get it done. But how does this happen? Is Tom Thibodeau that good a defensive mind?

Or was something else at work too?

How do you not do the foul-to-give on Noah at the end of regulation? Noah held that ball till 1 second was left on the clock. Foul him! Make the Bulls score on a 1-2 second play, rather than 4 seconds.

How do you not force Rose into repeated defensive situations, forcing him to foul or allow the score? He had five fouls for forever!

How do you leave Hedo in the game when he's clearly hurting and refusing to do anything but pass it back out?

I understand how Gentry couldn't take Nash out after putting him back in at the 10:19 mark, but come on Alvin. Nash could barely move. He didn't drive to the hoop, couldn't put his legs into his jumpshot. Couldn't really do anything.

Is that the reason the Suns refused to put Rose into a tough defensive situation even once after his fifth foul? No probing drives to the basket in overtime, forcing the defense's hand. No hard screens to fight through.

The questions after this game are endless.

I hold Gentry partially accountable for this game. His substitutions did not work out. He was clearly trying to "hold on" by keeping Nash and Hedo in the game, and never planned on it going to 2 overtimes. But you have to be better than that.

I know, holding the coach accountable for players' lack of performance is wrong. 

Hakim Warrick was the player of the first half, with 23 easy points. After halftime? Nothing. Nada. Zilch. The Bulls contested the catch and packed the lane on the roll, both or either of which was enough to befuddle Warrick into nothingness.

And once that play was gone, Nash was on his own to create via probing and dribbling around till someone popped open. But his body seemed to refuse. He really couldn't drive. Was that Rose's suffocating defense? Nah. Nash should have been able to carve Rose, Deng or Noah up, but he couldn't for some reason.

And once those two options were gone, the Suns were in big trouble.

The Bulls caught a break in this one, for sure. But you've got to give them credit for fighting for it and taking it with a vengeance.

Derrick Rose was a monster (35 pts, 12 rebs, 7 assists), as was Joakim Noah (17 and 15). But we knew they would be, and the Suns could still win.

But the real difference, as I suspected earlier today, would be the supporting casts. 36 points from Korver and James Johnson was HUGE in keeping the Bulls within striking distance for Noah and Rose to close it out. 

The Suns' supporting cast in the second half? Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

Final - 11.24.2010 1 2 3 4 OT 1 OT 2 Total
Chicago Bulls 17 33 22 29 10 12 123
Phoenix Suns 36 26 22 17 10 4 115

Complete Coverage >

Bulls vs Suns boxscore

[Note by Seth Pollack, 11/24/10 11:12 PM MST ]

Not much to add. I need to go watch the game again on DVR, but the most frustrating thing I saw aside from getting out-worked the middle quarters and letting off the gas as the inability to take advantage of the switches and find the bigs in the post.

Here's what Warrick said about that specifically:

"They did a really good job. When they did switch the would try and bump and get a bigger guy out of there and a really good job of rotating. They left some shooters sometimes and we tried to make them pay. When teams do that against us we got to keep attacking."

Audio: Gentry postgame 112410

SBN AZ recap with more quotes:

Phoenix Suns Blow Early Lead To Chicago Bulls, Lose In Double OT 123-115 - SB Nation Arizona
"He (Goran Dragic) didn't play very good and as a result of that I have to play Steve (Nash) too many minutes. 48 minutes for Steve is too damn many," Gentry said about his backup point guard. Gentry also singled out Jared Dudley and Josh Childress for their lack of performance. Dragic, Childress and Dudley combined for only five points in the game.

Quote of the night:

"It's a loss. It's a bad loss but we're also 15 games into the season and we can't panic or do anything like that." - Alvin Gentry

This game sucked, but it would be a huge mistake to start making any radical changes because of it. There's a LOT of season left and this team is what it is. They will be good some nights and bad others. They are not good enough to be in the top of the West but they also shouldn't be bad enough to be in the lottery. Making panic moves have more of a chance at backfiring then making things better, especially this early in the season.

What is pretty clear now is why Gentry called Robin Lopez the second most important player on the team besides Steve Nash. Dudley said before the season that for the Suns to be a really good team they needed him playing at a near All-Star level. There's only so much you can do playing Hedo and Hakim and Frye as your three bigs and there's nothing on the bench that offers a better answer aside from the big guy with the frizzy hair. 

In the mean time, this group here needs to toughen up and play better and play harder and be more consistent on the defensive end. Gentry knows this.

"Like I told our guys, we can't become at team that has a reputation that just keep playing and you'll have an opportunity to get back in the game. We can't be that team."

Right now, the Suns are that team and they've got a lot of work to do to change that, but panic moves are not the answer.

Game Notes:

1st Qtr

  • Noah has the top-knot going
  • JRich posting up Rose early. SMART
  • Nash on Bogans, Hill on Rose as expected
  • OReb on 1st Bulls possession leads to wide open three
  • Noah trying to post up Channing finds out that Channing isn't as soft as they think
  • Suns running on rebounds....kind of makes that rebounding thing even more important, huh
  • Bulls put Deng on Frye so Noah doesn't have to guard him out on the perimeter so Frye's posts him up
  • Suns hardly running any pick and roll so far
  • Hedo D'd the crap out of Deng in the post
  • Suns up 17-6, getting easy looks. Time out, Bulls. 6:38
  • Frye 2-2 from three
  • Nash now on Korver
  • Nash doing his part to try and help with the rebounding. He's at least in the paint trying to mix it up and get in people's way
  • It's a lot easier rebound against this gues when they are playing three guards instead of Noah/Gibson
  • Wow, 31-11 already. Tired Bulls team. Thank you NBA schedule makers...for once
  • Asik in for Naoh. Some Turk on Turk action before Turkey Day! Except Hedo is out now as well...for the record, I didn't make up that dump Turk on Turk thing
  • Dudley fouls James Johnson w/ 1 sec left and then Clark fouls Asik w/ .4 on the missed FT. Gentry pissed
  • 36-17. Not a bad quarter of basketball...if you are into winning on both ends of the floor

2nd Qtr

  • Zero Suns turnovers. 14-10 TReb. 63.6% shooting. Not bad
  • For those that track these things, Goran is clean shaven. Not that you can tell when he's not
  • Suns ultra small ball with Warrick, Hedo, Dudley, Childress and Dragic on the floor. Bulls bigs are Asik, James Johnson and Deng so you know....nothing to wet the bed over
  • Bulls did a good job collapsing on that pick and roll but Goran still found Hedo for an open three that he air balled and then looked at his fingers checking for butter or oil or something
  • Dudley hits the out! Steak coming
  • Suns getting some OReb's which is nice. Asik picks up his 3rd foul already
  • Rose back in along with Scalabrine. Watch out now!
  • Rose was driving with Dragic trailing. Looked like Goran reached with both hands to foul to prevent a layup but somehow poked the ball away. Still counts as a steal
  • James Johnson, how the Bulls drafted one place after Earl Clark, is playing very well
  • 3rd foul on Frye. Tough call. Looked like he was trying to get out of the way but got ran into while standing in the circle
  • Bulls have cut the lead to 19. Dragic not playing well at all, seems hesitant
  • Warrick's been kind of limping around and favoring an ankle. Playing through it
  • Both teams pissed at the refs. Good sign of a tightly called game going both ways. Foul calls almost even
  • Sweet lob from Nash to Warrick when Noah tried to trap him on the pick and roll!
  • Lead down to 15. 55-40
  • Johnson, 7pts and 4 Reb goes to bench for Deng. Good news for Suns
  • Keeping Rose away from the rim for the most part...he's hitting some outside shots but you live with that
  • Bulls bench outplayed Suns bench in the 2nd quarter but Suns starters killing Bulls starters
  • Wait what? 23 points for Warrick in the half! 7-8 shooting and 9-10 from the line. Those are Amare numbers right there...including the 3 rebounds
  • Noah's hair scrunchy fell out causing a hair emergency. Fixed now.
  • Deng just destroyed Childress of the dribble for a drive and dunk. Not a great way to finish the quarter.
  • 62-50 Suns. Bulls won the 2nd qtr 33-26. So much for defense

3rd Qtr

  • Well, well, well. We'll see if the 1st qtr Suns come out or the 2nd qtr Suns. Suns can make a run and break the game back open we could be in for garbage time 4th, otherwise a dog fight. Next 5 minutes key.
  • Was that too obvious? I'm trying to get better at my "obvious sports commentary" skills.
  • Just saw Kurt Thomas joking w/ Suns training staff. Guessing he wants to come back and get some of that magic finger goodness
  • Suns not playing w/ the same swagger they were to start the game. Bulls are though so that's good
  • Damn ugly offensive possession for the Bulls results in a bad shot that missed and was easily rebounded by Chicago while Suns were staring at the clouds. GET THE BALL
  • Bulls just fighting harder for the loose balls
  • Threes no longer falling for Suns
  • Channing for three!!!
  • Not sure why Noah still thinks he can attack Frye. Hasn't worked yet for him
  • Good, patient basketball take advantage of Rose on Hill after the switch. Post him up. Re-post to get better position. Score. Simple but effective.
  • Suns have been running more Nash/Hill picks and rolls then I've seen before
  • And Hill abuses Rose in the post again. Spin move and layup this time. They might want to try and different defensive plan
  • I hate when the Suns do this. On the switch, Nash has Noah on him and Frye has Rose but instead of posting up Rose w/ Frye, Nash just iso's Noah for awhile before trying some fancy lob to Warrick. Just post Frye up on Rose. Come on
  • Nash makes the hard look easy but also can make the easy look hard
  • Kiss Cam. No comment.
  • Dudley had to rush that shot at the end of the clock. He's 1-5. Not much of a streak
  • Suns up 84-72

4th Qtr

  • Artificial pumped in noise time
  • Let's see if Dragic can play a little better this time on the floor
  • Suns not getting easy transition points they got in the first quarter. Bulls getting wide open looks now however.
  • Nash back in very early at the 9:15 mark
  • Korver doing his thing - stand at the line and hit open threes
  • 89-81
  • Nash is PISSED about not getting foul call after getting hacked on the arm
  • Deng three. 89-86. Bulls defense locking down. They are energized now. Suns blew their chance to take the fight out of them. Dog fight time.
  • Oh look, Suns getting killed on the glass again. 14-8 OReb, Bulls
  • Hedo holding his lower back. He got floored earlier in the game. Looks stiff
  • That's what I said
  • Suns wisely try and post up CJ Watson with JRich but he loses the ball on his dribble
  • I think I jinxed Goran. Ever since I wrote that story about how great he was playing, he's sucked. Sorry
  • 5th foul on Rose. Looked like they were going to try and post up Frye on him before the call
  • 94-90, 3:50
  • Rose gets to the rim for the and 1. B/c he's Derrick Rose, that's why
  • Big three from JRich. Needed that
  • 97-93, 3:01. Time out, Bulls
  • It would appear someone in the lower level is heaving money into the air. Can't say I've ever seen that before. No idea how much or what denomination bills
  • Suns can win the game but they can't be happy about it. They can lose the game and be really mad. Kind of a lose-suck situation
  • Frye has been a stud in this game but Bulls outside shooting in the 4th has kept them in it
  • Nice interior defense on that Rose drive, turnover
  • Suns getting no good looks on offense. 99-97, Suns. 1:17
  • Suns turnover (Nash) leads to Bulls dunk. 99-99
  • Nash fouled by James Johnson with 21 seconds left
  • Rose bailed out going to the paint with a iffy call on Hill. Rose hits the two FT's. Tie game, 14 seconds and Suns ball. Not sure why he went so early in the clock
  • Suns try and get Hill a shot but Brewer fights through and contests. OT


  • Bulls are brimming with confidence. Rose hits a J to give Bulls first lead of the game
  • Korver just blocked Grant but he got the ball back and hit a shot over him
  • Sweet pass from Noah. Wow
  • I really don't understand why Nash isn't taking advantage of mismatches in the post more. Warrick had a small on him but he goes to Frye for a three instead
  • Nash has missed two wide open threes now
  • JRich for three. Suns up 108-107, 1:04
  • Gentry subbing Nash out on defensive possessions. Noah pushed off on the rebound, Nash in
  • Yikes, Suns get the ball on the call but the review is going to give it back to the Bulls. Right call, it went off Hill's leg. Suns up 108-107 with 21 seconds
  • Rose gets a good look to take the lead but misses, Frye with the rebound and fouled. Non-shooting foul
  • 13 seconds, 108-107. Suns ball
  • Frye hits the FTs. 110-107. 12 sec. Bulls ball
  • Rose missed the three with Grant in his face but Noah tipped it in. 110-109. 5.8 sec. Suns ball
  • Noah denied Nash the ball in the inbounds. Went in to JRich for the FTs and he hit the first and missed the second. 111-109, 4.3 second. Bulls ball
  • Wow, Noah hits Rose cutting baseline for a reverse. Tie game.
  • Suns try the same lob play from Hill to JRich but the Bulls were ready for it

2 OT

  • Rose has had five fouls for awhile now. Suns need to get him out of the game
  • Nice drive by Hedo but he paid for it. Fell hard on his face
  • Suns blew that, Rose wide open J
  • Nash missing shots he normally makes. Tired
  • Deng nails a J in Hedo's face. 118-113 Bulls, 2:20. Suns look dead
  • Suns get a good look for Frye but he missed the three
  • Incredible hustle play from Noah. He's a monster
  • Rose fouled out on an offensive foul! Might be too late for Suns to benefit from that though down 5 with 1:38
  • Nash can't be the hero w/ the three late in the clock
  • Bulls defense impressive. Noah steal on Nash should do it
  • Happy Turkey Day

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