Both teams stumbled out of the gate trudging at a molasses pace. Neither team trailed by more than four in the period as the teams battled back and forth. Luis Scola got off to a hot start with 10 points, while Joakim Noah countered for the Bulls with six points and five rebounds. Score: Bulls 21, Suns 20.
The second quarter started with more of the same. I was struck with abulia while trying to decide whether the paucity of points was due to stagnant offense, pesky defense or a combination of both. Then something unexpected happened. Something as unexpected as getting struck by lightning three times on your way to collecting your money from winning the powerball twice in one week. Michael Beasley happened. Given an opportunity to see the light of day due to a hand injury to Jared Dudley, Beasley went for 14 points in the second quarter on 7-8 shooting and carried the Suns in the period. Scola also finished the half with 14, as the two were the only Suns with more than four points. Noah led the Bulls in scoring (8) and rebounding (5) at the half, but managed only two points and no rebounds in the second quarter. Score: Suns 49, Bulls 42.
Scola continued the torrid shooting he displayed in the first half. I don't understand why so many teams concede him open looks from 20 feet when he makes them with such proficiency. The usually stingy Bulls defense was being exploited by a Suns offense that has recently been anemic (to be kind). Inconsistent officiating led to the Bulls doing more complaining than hustling and it was clearly evident players like Tucker were in their heads. Scola led all scorers with 22 points. Boozer had collected a double-double after a strong third quarter. Score: Suns 77, Bulls 63.
The blowout was on. The Suns stretched the lead to as many as 19 twice and the Bulls never made it within the 14 they trailed by going into the quarter. Sebastian Telfair, Markieff Morris and Beasley put the Bulls out of their misery as Phoenix cruised to the easy victory. Score: Suns 97, Bulls 81.
Player of the Game:
Michael Beasley. Michael finished with 20 points, on 10-14 shooting, and six rebounds. He was the Suns catalyst in the second quarter where the Suns took a lead on the Bulls and never looked back. It was easily one of his best handful of games as a Sun. He did have five turnovers, but I'm sure the Bulls never scored off of one anyway.
Comments of the Game:
The bench, which has been the bane of our existence recently, didn't come out and wet themselves in the second quarter. The Suns reserves actually outplayed the Bulls all night long behind several spectacular performances.
Michael Beasley. Give credit where credit is due. The much maligned Beasley, who has spent his recent games banished to the end of the bench, came out with a truculence that has been absent for most of the season. Or maybe he wasn't actually more aggressive and the shots just fell for a change. Either way, Michael lit it up in the second quarter and carried the Suns for the better part of his nine minutes on the court.
The Suns defense was consistent all night. The Bulls shot just 36.4% from the field and were only 2-10 from three point range while being held to 81 points. Suns were feisty and fearless, which led to the Bulls becoming disconcerted and discomposed. This was one of the best and most complete defensive performances of the season.
Dragic with two more first quarter fouls. I need to find a way to track how many times he's done that this season. This time it was on a staggeringly bad decision to make an obvious foul from behind on Nate Robinson. It looked like an intentional foul. Not smart.
Nothing to report. When the Suns play like this they don't rack up uglies.
The Suns broke two losing streaks (12 on the road and five overall) on their way to their 2,000th win. My final thought is - Where the hell did this come from?! I am stunned that the Suns managed to win their third road game of the season in blowout fashion. In a season that has devolved into a battle for lottery positioning this game was a completely unanticipated surprise. Almost everyone who played contributed. What a solid overall victory! I actually felt proud of this team (tear rolls from eye).
I guess Jared Dudley has been holding us back this whole time.