Lacking depth on the wings, it was obvious leading up to this game that the Bulls would struggle to defend Suns’ scorers T.J. Warren and Devin Booker. That’s exactly what happened: Despite Kris Dunn starting the game 4-4 from the field with a three, the Suns led going into the half thanks to Warren and Booker’s combined 25 points.
The biggest story, though, was Dragan Bender. In the first start of his career, Bender got into early foul trouble and failed to make too much of an impact. Thankfully, Chicago’s roster was unable to capitalize. Outside of Dunn and Justin Holiday, the Bulls had very little going for them on offense. Lauri Markkanen continued his atrocious shooting slump, and he’s about the only other guy Chicago could even look to.
Likewise Lauri off the Markkanen: One of nine. 46-43 Suns at half. Markkanen 14 for 61 last 5 games.— Sam Smith (@SamSmithHoops) November 29, 2017
It was also a game which served as a fantastic reminder of the skill of Devin Booker. He shot 10-23 from the field for 33 points, including five 3-pointers. As is becoming standard, Booker was consistent throughout the game asserting his will and making open shots. It’s just so valuable when he has games like this.
Devin Booker has that in the gym range. pic.twitter.com/ThqQPRpElF— Suns Nation (@SunsNationNBA) November 29, 2017
Overall, Bender’s first start was uneventful, and this game became quite normal for the Suns. Both Booker and Warren were over 20 points, Alex Len was active in the paint (18 rebounds) and the Suns won a lowish-scoring game. It’s a recipe that has led them to victory over Minnesota and Washington, and now Chicago twice.
From the Bulls’ perspective, Dunn’s performance against Booker should inspire confidence moving forward, now that he’s joined the starting lineup. Bobby Portis played well, regaining speed after an eight-game suspension. That’s about it.
The Suns will hope that this is a real pattern and not simply an easy way to beat bad teams, because the rest of the road trip will not be so kind. They cannot survive runs like the one the Bulls mounted late in the fourth quarter against more talented teams.
Devin Booker chase down pin against Kris Dunn. pic.twitter.com/4gjbPDqvvd— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) November 29, 2017
Another game awaits in less than 24 hours, in Detroit.