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Final Score: Suns eek out a close one against Bulls, 121-116

NBA: Chicago Bulls at Phoenix Suns Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Bulls went BIG all game, trying to out-size the Suns while missing two of their best scorers. They played two towers a lot, with Thad Young and Patrick Williams both crashing from the back side. To that end the Bulls dominated the boards, 50-32. I mean... come on now.

They kept Bulling the Suns and got to within three with seven minutes left, but Devin Booker and Chris Paul’s offense, and some Deandre Ayton post defense, kept the Suns in the lead.

Devin Booker set a new season high with 45 points on 70% shooting. Chris Paul had 15 points and 14 assists. And the biggest steal of the night with 27 seconds left and the Suns up 5.

The Bulls tried their hardest, given the guys missing, and deserved... a close game.

Suns win, 121-116.

Suns are now 33-14 on the season.

How’d it unfold????

The Bulls came out firing, even without some of their best scorers, while the Suns just went through the motions getting the feel of the game.

The Bulls starting lineup was HUGE out there, the shortest player being Tomas Satoransky at 6’7” and they used that height to grab rebounds and pass over the top a bit. The Suns failed to counter with their quickness or ball movement.

Chicago was up 13-6 before the Suns woke a bit. They pulled closer behind a trio of Jae Crowder threes and finally took the lead at 27-26 on a Cameron Payne floater. Crowder and Devin Booker scored 21 of the Suns first 25 points.

The Bulls just would not go away. They were FEELING it, scoring 37 points in the first quarter on 56% shooting, but the Suns kept the lead with hot shooting of their own to keep a 39-37 lead after one quarter. Book and Jae combined for 23 points while 7 different Bulls scored in a very ‘everyones making it’ fashion.

The second quarter became a little more normal for the Suns and the Bulls, with the Suns taking a lead on the backs of their second unit. Cameron Payne, who once had a disastrous stint with the Bulls that almost ended his career, scored five quick points late in the first and kept his foot on the gas in the second as well.

By the end of the half, the Suns were up 67-58 and all felt more right in the world. Ha.

At the half, the Suns leaders were:

  • Booker with 22 (on 10 of 14 shooting!) and 3 assists
  • Jae Crowder with 10 points on 3 of 4 threes, all in the first quarter
  • but the MVP was Dario Saric, who was a BEAST with 13 points (5/6, 3/3), 2 rebounds and 2 assists

How are the Bulls as close as 9? How about 10 offensive rebounds in the first half (5 by vet Thad Young) for 12 second chance points. Suns are one of the stingiest teams in the league on giving those up.

Second Half

Devin Booker picked up where he left off, making a nice two against Patrick Williams. A quick aside on Williams: he’s got a nice future as an energy guy, making a lot of Bridges type plays on both ends. He can’t keep up with Devin Booker though.

Here’s anothe aside: Jae Crowder has stepped up his rim protection game as of late, making some nice sweeping blocks that seem to catch all ball more often than you’d think. He had a great one on a driving Thad Young dunk attempt that the refs initially called a foul because it was so decisively blocked away. But review showed it clean. Jump ball.

The Suns were rolling, up 14 with a clean handle on the game, when they started to stumble a bit. It happened on a trio of bad offensive plays by Ayton when he was given the ball on the block and immediately got double-teamed and turned it over.

The Bulls really stayed with size the whole game. Patrick Williams (6’8”) on Booker all game and twin towers down low with two of Vuc, Daniel Theis, and Lauri in the game most of the time. Then Thad Young and Williams could crash the boards on the back side. They got the lead down to 5 by just not letting the Suns get any rebounds. Frustrating.

Thanks primarily to Devin Booker, the Suns pulled back out to 94-86 at the end of three. Booker has 36 huge points, looking unstoppable. Just need him to stay hot in the 4th now.

Aannnd it was the Bulls who got hot, bullying their way with the biggest palest guys on the team to keep getting those second chance points. They got to within 3 points with 7 minutes left before Devin Booker got back into the game.

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