What: Phoenix Suns (3-4) at Chicago Bulls (3-5)
When: Wednesday, Nov. 8 — at 6:00 p.m. AZ time
Where: United Center — Chicago, IL
Watch: Arizona’s Family 3TV
Listen: 620 AM / 98.7 FM HD-2
The Phoenix Suns are 3-4. Devin Booker and Bradley Beal have appeared in 2 games combined through the first 7 contests. No, the sky is not falling contrary to popular belief despite the rough start. Help may be on the way sooner than expected.
Shams Charania today reported that Suns star Bradley Beal could make his debut against the Bulls on Wednesday. His status has been upgraded to questionable, which is an encouraging development.
Suns‘ Bradley Beal (back) could make his debut vs. Bulls on Wednesday. He has been upgraded to questionable.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 7, 2023
If he is unable to go today, the next opportunity for Beal to suit up would be the team’s first game of the in-season tournament against the Lakers on Friday at the Footprint Center.
Duane Rankin was able to speak with Frank Vogel about the latest on the injury situation. Beal was a full participant in practice today and now they are just waiting to see how his body responds from the workout.
"Looks good, just got to make sure and see how he feels from the work today."— Duane Rankin (@DuaneRankin) November 7, 2023
Frank Vogel on Bradley Beal (back).
Listed questionable. On track to play Wed. at Bulls.
Devin Booker (calf) out.
"He wants to be in there but he can tell when something is not quite right." #Suns pic.twitter.com/EgdKifIbPt
Kevin Durant is fresh off a 41-point masterclass in a win against the Pistons on Sunday in Detroit. Now, he may have a bit more help with the potential return of Bradley Beal.
“I’m excited for (Beal),” Durant said. “I know he can’t wait to start. It’s always tough sitting down on the sideline and watching the games, so I feel for him.”
The Suns have won 7 straight games against the Bulls.
Chicago just handed the Jazz a beatdown, scoring 130 points in the process to win their third game of the season in eight tries. Chicago had eight players in double-figure in the 130-113 victory over Utah.
The Bulls have a pair of 20+ point scorers in Zach LaVine (22.5) and DeMar DeRozan (21.4) leading the charge. This could be a game where Josh Okogie plays a large role and potentially starts to try to help slow down LaVine and DeRozan on the perimeter.
Bradley Beal, Grayson Allen, Keita Bates-Diop, Kevin Durant, Jusuf Nurkic
Coby White, Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, Torrey Craig, Nikola Vucevic
Suns: Devin Booker (left ankle sprain) is OUT, Bradley Beal (low back spasms) is QUESTIONABLE, and Damion Lee (right meniscus surgery) remains OUT.
Bulls: Lonzo Ball (knee) OUT for season, Patrick Williams (finger) PROBABLE, Alex Caruso (elbow) PROBABLE
Former Suns Watch
The Bulls currently employ two former Suns: Jevon Carter and Torrey Craig. Each of them are key members of Chicago’s rotation.
Keys to a Suns Win
Despite being down Devin Booker, the Suns have a favorable matchup against a Chicago team that ranks 23rd in defensive rating to begin the season. The Bulls can score in a hurry, but Phoenix’s offense should be able to feast, especially if they get out in transition.
- Contain LaVine — We’ve all seen what Zach LaVine can do when he gets hot. Cutting the faucet off early and closing out hard on his shots will be an important ingredient in a potential Suns win. I’m looking at you, Josh Okogie.
- Win the bench minutes. Chicago can struggle to score with their go-to scorers on the bench, but they certainly have some capable pieces that are productive in that group. Phoenix’s bench needs to do some of the heavy lifting to give Durant a break.
- Make the Bulls work on defense. Ball movement offensively will be a major key. Attack the weak links and take advantage of a limited defense. I expect Phoenix to hit the 120+ point mark with ease as long as they play team ball.
If the Suns can stick to these principles, it’s a winnable matchup with or without Booker (and Beal for that matter.)
Durant goes for 30+. The shooters hit shots. Beal has a nice stretch in limited minutes. Suns do just enough to escape Chicago with a win after a scare late.
Suns win, 121-117.