Devin Booker had himself another night, scoring 38 points. DeMar DeRozan of the Bulls had his own 38 points to match. It’s the rest of the guys that made the difference in this one where the Suns pushed out to a 29-point lead late in the third quarter before coasting to a win.
The Suns starting lineup is flowing well now, and with the help of Elfrid Payton off the bench, the second unit was able to hold their own and hold the lead for the majority of the game.
The starters for the Suns weren’t able to get too much rest but they did what they had to do to get the victory over one of the best teams in the eastern conference.
Mikal Bridges made a driving layup to give the Suns a 127-112 lead with 1:41 to go, causing the timeout where the opposing coach puts in his bench guys.
Monty Williams left the starters in a bit longer, which seemed a bit excessive considering the Suns have a game against the Sixers tomorrow. He finally pulled the starters, en masse, at the 1:12 mark with a 127-116 lead. The complete backup unit of Elf/Ish/Stix/Bis/Jackson gave up a game-ending 8-point run that looked a lot like their 4th quarter effort against the Wizards on Saturday.
Still, a win’s a win.
Suns win, 127-124.
Layup lines were in order early for both the Bulls and Suns. Easy access to the rim showed the unfamiliarity between the ball clubs and what to expect on the defensive end.
The Suns locked things up and a few minutes into the 1st quarter, they led 11-4. Jae Crowder sailed in for a couple layups and Mikal Bridges ended the run with a knock-down three before the Bulls had to spend a timeout.
Devin Booker and Chris Paul got to where they wanted on the court. The lack of presence from the Bulls defense made thing easy for the Suns and every basket had a clear view.
The Bulls started to heat up and a 9-0 run had the Suns only up 22-20 before spending a timeout. The play by Crowder in the first quarter was fantastic, but he was unable to hit a couple wide-open threes and cost the team point when receiving a technical.
What was a great team start for the Suns, turned into a disaster end of the first quarter, until the savior off the bench entered- Cam Johnson.
Cam helped stop the bleeding along with Booker who ended the 1st quarter with 16 points giving the suns the 36-29 lead.
Elfred Payton played to good minutes entering the 2nd quarter. Running the fast break and finishing at the rim a few times kept CP3 on the bench with a smile. Because we all know keeping or even pushing the lead makes his job even easier.
Payton led the Suns to a 50-32 lead after finding JaVale McGee with the alley-oop!
Then, McGee with the three!
“Don’t.. don’t do it Javale… don’t don’t” pic.twitter.com/QU7wr0OpIY— andrew leezus (@AndrewLeezus) February 8, 2022
CP3 came back into the game maybe a little too early? It would have been nice for him to get even more rest. I guess because he is in, he can do this:
The game started to slow down a little with the Suns not able to keep the same pace after Payton left. Keeping the lead was important... putting the Bulls team away early would help with more rest going into tomorrow nights game.
Booker was having fun at the end of the 1st half leading the team with 22 points at the half.
The intensity picked up on both sides. Up and down, the Bulls were ready to fight back in to the game. DeMar DeRozan was leading the charge in getting to the rim, to the line, and pulling up from his spots on the floor for the jumper.
Suns then brought the lead back up to 20 with great ball movement and mismatches in the paint. Even Booker was able to muscle his way inside for a few points.
The lead that was once 20 turned into 25 and the Bulls began to stand around and watch the Suns on offense, unable to keep up.
It’s a beautiful game when it’s played right pic.twitter.com/GhIgY5qIID— Kellan Olson (@KellanOlson) February 8, 2022
The refs were handing out fouls to the Suns left and right and the Suns were a little careless when it came to protecting the 20-point lead.
The Bulls seemed to take a page from the Suns in still trying to shoot the twos and get to the line to trim the lead down.
When plays like this are being thrown around by McGee, you know that the Suns were having fun! He really did it all tonight.
One last charge from the Bulls had them sneaking around the 13 point mark, but the McGee got a big and-1 to stop the run.
DeRozan would not let up and refused to take a seat on the bench closing the lead to only 9! Then Crowder hit his typical clutch three to quite again the Bulls run.
The Suns win 127-124!
The momentum will now run into tomorrow nights matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers. A finals preview?