What a heartbreaker. The Suns were able to keep it close in first half, came out and played awful basketball in the third quarter, but still managed to make a miraculous comeback in the fourth quarter only to lose in overtime. Sebastian Telfair came in and knocked down some huge three-pointers and finished the night with 17 points and 4 assists. P. J. Tucker came off the bench and hauled in crucial 7 offensive rebounds. These impressive performances from the bench were in vain, however, as Carlos Boozer with 28 points and Joakim Noah with 21 points led the Bulls in overtime to get the win.
Jared Dudley and Michael Beasley were almost nonexistent tonight. When Scola fouled out in overtime, he was the only starter to finish with a positive +/- in the game by the way, Beasley came in and Suns fans were quick to call for him to go back to the bench. Dudley finished the night with only 5 points, Goran Dragic looked good at the beginning but cooled off in the second half, Gortat played adequately, but Scola really was the starter that had a game necessary to beat Chicago.
The Bulls shot well tonight, shooting 50% from the field. The Suns managed only to shoot 40% in field goal attempts. That is the formula for a loss, plain and simple. It also didn't help that Beasley, Dudley, and Brown shot a combined 10 for 35 from the floor.
Alright, enough venting. Let's talk about some positive. Here are some things that I was impressed with tonight:
P. J. Tucker: Consider me a believer. In honor of college basketball beginning and Dick Vitale, Tucker is a PTPer baby! He seems to always be in the right place at the right time. Players like Tucker, the ones who go for those 50/50 balls, are the ones that make basketball fun to watch. Tip of the hat to you Mr. Tucker.
Heart of the Second Unit: The third quarter was tough to watch. The Bulls only outscored Phoenix by 8, but that doesn't show how poorly the Suns really played in that quarter. They looked lost when Dragic and some of the other starters were taking breathers. Then the comeback happened...Bassy hit some big threes, Tucker was hustling all over the court to get offensive rebounds, and the second unit started to show tremendous heart. They never gave up and although they ultimately gassed in overtime, they impressed me in that fourth quarter.
The schedule for the near future does not get any easier as the Suns play the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday and the Miami Heat on Saturday. Hopefully the starters are able to match the heart of the bench for these games.
|Final - 11.14.2012||1||2||3||4||OT 1||Total|
Despite a furious comeback led by Sebastian Telfair and the Suns bench, the Bulls were able to cruise in overtime and secure the 112-106 victory.
When: 7:00 p.m. MST / 9:00 p.m. EST
Where: US Airways Center Phoenix, AZ
Watch: FSNAZ (Locally), NBA League Pass
The 4-4 Suns and the 4-3 Bulls find themselves in similar dilemmas. Chicago and the Suns both have rosters full with capable, important pieces that a championship team would need...but they are both lacking the star power to carry them beyond anything else besides a fringe playoff spot.
Granted, Chicago and Phoenix are in similar situations, but they find themselves in those situations with vastly different circumstances.
The Suns lost their guy to another team, that horse has been beaten enough. The Bulls, however, are without the most explosive point guard the league has seen in my generation and their ticket to a potential birth into the Eastern Conference Finals was shot when Derrick Rose suffered his knee injury against the 76ers in the the first game of the playoffs last season.
Both clubs are in limbo (Inception reference, couldn't help myself) and are looking to find their identity. Chicago, it appears, has turned to using Loul Deng as their first option and they've been working him into the ground. Deng has averaged 41.8 minutes per game in the Bulls' last five games because they really don't have any other player they can depend upon besides the former Duke Blue Devil.
The Suns will look to counteract with their platoon scoring and their 10-man rotation. Tonight's game should provide for some entertaining basketball. Let's look at three key match-ups in the game:
Michael Beasley vs. Luol Deng: This is the match-up the night ladies and gentlemen. Beasley has to show up tonight against Deng, plain and simple. If Beasley can do that and put up respectable numbers against Deng, it would help Phoenix out tremendously. Realistically, the Bulls have the edge in this match-up. Right now, Deng is averaging close to 19 points per game and has always been known as a tough defender. Beasley, on the other hand, has looked well...like Michael Beasley, averaging only 13.3 points per game and shooting an lackluster 36.2% from the floor. Nothing has suggested to me that Chicago does not have the advantage in this match-up.
The Bigs, Marcin Gortat & Luis Scola vs. Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer: Hands down, advantage goes to the Suns in the one folks. Gortat and Scola have looked as advertised so far this season (knock on wood everybody) and are really the foundation of the roster. The Polish
Hammer Gazelle has been the double-double machine the Suns need him to be and Scola is proving his worth with close to 14 points and 8 rebounds per game. The Bigs for Phoenix should outperform the respectable Noah and the player formally known as Carlos Boozer tonight.
Goran Dragic vs. Kirk Hinrich or Nate Robinson: The Bulls can put up Hinrich or Robinson, the Suns still would have the advantage in the floor general match-up. Dragic has been the MVP for Phoenix, shooting close to 47% from the field and tacking on 7.5 assists per game as well. If Hinrich does play, the former Jayhawk has barely looked D-League worthy in the six games he has played this season and Robinson would have his hands full with Dragic. Point guard advantage leans strongly toward Phoenix in this game.
The Bottom Line: The Suns should win. On paper, the Bulls just don't have the depth that the Suns have and don't possess the scoring capabilities like Phoenix does. If Chicago somehow manages to turn this game into a defense struggle, however, don't count out Tom Thibodeau's trying to steal away this win from the Suns and piece together a low-scoring victory. My official prediction: The Suns win and move to 5-4 on the season entering into their game against the Los Angeles Lakers and their head coach, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.