The Phoenix Suns took advantage of a tired and/or disinterested Chicago Bulls team to jump out to a lead after each of the first (2 points), second (13 points) and third (10 points).
The Bulls tried to start the fourth with energy, but the Suns held them off with the help of a pair of threes by Jared Dudley.
After that, the Bulls just couldn’t muster enough shooting to get back into the game. Their back court consisted of Jerian Grant, Dwyane Wade, Rajon Rondo, Michael Carter-Williams. Not a lot of shooting there.
Couple that with big games from Devin Booker and Eric Bledsoe, along with T.J. Warren finding his range again and...
WHO AM I KIDDING?!?!?!
This game was all about BIG SAUCE.
Tyson Chandler went out with an ankle injury in the first half, and Alex Len was suspended for leaving the bench the other night.
So this was Alan Williams’ coming out party. Williams collected nearly a double double in his first 14 minutes of play over the late-second to third quarter (10/8 and 4 blocks).
Not only did Williams have a double-double, Sauce got his hands on a lot of tap-outs as well with those long arms.
Sauce finished with 14 points, 11 rebounds and 4 blocks.
Suns win 115-97.
Feels like this is the most minutes the Suns have led by 10+ in a single game all year.
Good win for the home boys.
The Suns opened the game with a 4-0 lead before the Bulls went on a run to take the lead and led 25-20 toward the end of the first quarter before a flurry of scoring, including a Booker three to cap it off, put the Suns up 28-26 after one quarter. Booker had 13 of the Suns 28 points, plus 2 assists, in the quarter on 8 shots.
By mid-second quarter, the Suns box score looked like an anomaly - with 11 assists on their first 17 makes. And on the other end, the Suns were playing physical in the paint with 5 blocks (3 from “Big Sauce” Alan Williams).
With the score 39-39 Suns, the Suns had outscored the Bulls in the paint 24-10 and on fast breaks 9-2. The Bulls were staying alive with mid-range shooting.
The Suns broke out with a 6-0 run once the starters came back in, capped by a great Bledsoe dish into the paint to feed Marquese Chriss on a dunk where he was still going up as he dunked the ball down. Man, he’s got lift for days.
The only bad news: Tyson Chandler rolled an ankle hard. The Suns finished the half with Marquese Chriss manning the middle around Warren, Tucker, Bledsoe and Booker.
The Suns kept pushing and the Bulls melted all the way to a 23-6 quarter-ending run after the Bulls had led 37-33.
Booker with 13 (all in the first quarter) and 2 assists. Eric Bledsoe with 7/4/2. Marquese Chriss had 5/3 (assists)/1. Off the bench, it was Alan Williams with 4/2/3 (blocks) and P.J. Tucker with 4/5/2. T.J. Warren with 8/3.
Big news: Suns have 14 assists on 24 field goals.
Suns up 56-43 at half.
Let’s see if the Suns know how to play with a lead...
To open the second half, the Bulls scored 8 quick points, all at the rim/free throws on broken Suns defensive plays, while the Suns could only get two shots and a turnover from Booker.
Timeout, Suns up on 58-52 all of a sudden.
The teams (ie. Eric Bledsoe and Dwyane Wade mostly) traded baskets after that. The Suns took a bit of control back halfway through the quarter, pulling back out to a 12-point lead.
Two minutes later, a three by Tucker even pushed it to 14.
The Bulls just didn’t look like they cared at all out there through three quarters, and that somehow made the Suns look almost like a good team. Okay, and okay team.
Eric Bledsoe was a beast in the third quarter, with 10 of his 17 points, while Devin Booker added another 9 of his 22.
After three, Alan BIG SAUCE Williams had 10 points, 8 rebounds and 4 blocks. HUGE.
Suns up 86-76 after three.
The Suns second unit really needed to step up to start the fourth quarter to hold that 10-point lead.
A contested three by Dudley helped tremendously to keep it an 9-point lead in the first couple minutes despite some defensive miscues by the Suns.
Another Dudley three pushed it to 12.