Chicago Bulls' Carlos Boozer drives to the basket as Phoenix Suns' Marcin Gortat (4) defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, April 5, 2011, in Chicago. The Bulls defeated the Suns 97-94.

 

The Suns revamped, er, reorganized starting unit played very well in the first quarter as the Suns kept the game close, but it was a terrible 2nd quarter in which the Suns only mustered 16 points that the pulls pulled out to a double-digit lead. 

By the middle of the 3rd quarter the lead for Chicago had ballooned to 22 and I was ready to call AAA for the blowout (ba-boom - chang!) but something strange and majestically fantastic happened!  The creature known as Vince Carter awoke and decided to play with heart, determination, and actually with some efficacy!  He and the bench helped the Suns evaporate the large lead and the game actually came down to a final possession as the Suns were down by only 3 points in with 11 seconds to make a play.  It failed and the Suns lost falling to 37-40 as Bulls move up to 57-20. 

Grant Hill's defense was stellar - Nash dished 16 assists, Vince had a decent game and the Suns showed heart and fight despite losing this game and despite falling to a nearly 25 point deficit.  That's all that we as the fans, and Alvin Gentry as the coach can ask at this point. 

NOW SHOW ME THE LOTTO!!!!!!  See it's a win-win even when we lose... and we lose again!  :)

Let's take a very detailed and professional look at what happened tonight - after the jump.


Final - 4.5.2011 1 2 3 4 Total
Phoenix Suns 24 16 30 24 94
Chicago Bulls 25 28 28 16 97

Complete Coverage >



PSYCHE!!!  Why would we do that!?

So we were playing a game right?  Let's see how well we all did - here are the answers to the Game Preview 21 questions.

21 Questions + ANSWERS.  BAM. 

  1. Can Gortat, Frye, and Lopez play efficient defense against Boozer's post game or Noah's lanky everywhereness or Kurt Thomas' crying and cheap-shot-veteranizing? Weeeellll,  Lopez had 4 fouls in 3 minutes of playing time.  FAIL.
  2. More importantly in my book - can Frye and Gortat stay out of early foul trouble? BAM.  Done and Done. Both played average defense in the 1st half and great defense in the 2nd.  Lot's of kudos. 
  3. Can Vince stop pretending like he's injured?  I know the answer to that. I thought he was actually going to pull this one off... BUUUUUUUUT, the offense came in the 4th quarter with 3:55 seconds as Korver tried to run through his screen.  Vince was hit with a blocking foul and immediately he went down in seeming excruciating pain... PSYCHE!  not 5 seconds later he was sprinting around just fine.  
  4. Will Steve be healthy enough to run the offense and bring some equilibrium back to the team? Can I get a hot tub!  He sho 'nuf did exactly that.  What did he end up with 45 assists?
  5. Can Aaron Brooks do something?Yeah he had like 2 pretty good assists.... attaboy A.B.?
  6. Which Hakim Warrick will we see?  Good Hak or terrible Hak? It was Good Hak, except for 2 bad jump-shots, Hak was high-flyin' and had some strong rebounds and defensive contributions.  Good job Hakim.
  7. Will Josh Childress be more productive alongside Steve Nash now that he's getting some consistent minutes? Well, I was wrong in wondering if he'd play with Nash and he didn't... But it didn't matter who he played with - he was part of the reason and the unit that cut the Bulls 23 point lead down.  Offensive rebounds, steals, D-rebounds, good D.  It was good night to be JChill.
  8. Will Jared Dudley continue his double-digit scoring streak? Most definitely he did fine sir - and he convincingly smashed dunk #9 on the season, even hanging a little on the rim as if to say to his teammates and those who serve as the JD Dunk Panel, "What B*#$%? Das a DUnK."  - on another note - Dudley did not get any calls from the officials tonight and he repeatedly attempted to drive and subsequently get hammered.  Terrible officiating tonight on both ends.  That's all.
  9. Will Robin Lopez be blocked by Noah or Asik trying to dunk? Ahem. Cough. The box score says he had 1 shot attempt... but quite honestly I can't remember what it was.  We'll just assume he was blocked by Scalabrine - who did not play today.
  10. Will Zabian Dowdell get PT if Brooks or Nash can't produce?  Well, Z's chances of playing tonight ended when he took his pants off before the game. 
  11. Will our game-thread have more than 800 comments?  I never doubted you guys.  See the comment thread recap below.
  12. Will Scott Howard or PanamaSun have tweets worthy of postgame recap display? Nope.  And I'm sorely disappointed.
  13. Can Channing knock down open shots tonight (assuming Boozer will be guarding him)? Channing played some OKAY defense and GOOD defense at times... but 5-15 won't cut it.  The answer is no he did not.
  14. Can Grant Hill give Rose a hard time tonight? Did we ever doubt BAMF?  Grant Hill gave Derrick Rose fits, Rose only had 19 points on 6-15 shooting.
  15. Will Grant Hill's offensive game be 'on' tonight? An efficient 60% from the field for 13 cool points.  Great job as always President Hill.
  16. Will Bogans explode for 34 and emerge a newborn SunKiller? Hahahahaha.
  17. Will Boozer at some point be fouled for an AND1 and look into the camera yelling something inaudible while clenching his right hand in a fist? Man I'm good - it happened twice, once in the first half... but he was actually called for an offensive foul and quickly his 'oooh mean' face turned into one of bewilderment.  Then in the second half he actually got an AND 1 and to my surprise clenched BOTH hands, not just one!  Interesting indeed! Now the real question should have been, will we get a classic Boozer curse word yelled into the under-basket mic, it didn't happen but that would have been a good question.
  18. Will Derrick Rose produce a 'Dunk of the Night' when Brooks is forced to guard him?  NOPE, and I was honestly surprised - at one point Rose was all alone on the break after a Suns turnover.. but he had some butterfingers and couldn't corral the ball and had to pull it out before busting on the rim hard for a dunk.
  19. What will Gortat say in his post-game interview given another bad loss to a great team? TBD
  20. What will Gortat say in his post-game interview given a surprising victory over a great team? N/A
  21. How many tweets will @stuff_ej_says produce tonight?  (Since EJ is going to be in his home-town - I'm expecting him to be on his 'A' game tonight) I haven't seen any yet.  Sad face. If you can remember something EJ said that was good go ahead and COMMENT fools!

Well there you have it folks!  It was a sad loss but an ugly game turned entertaining and encouraging!  Good stuff!  See you next time!




Oh yeah - visit Blog a Bull if you want talk about how Rose is the MVP and other playoff relevant stuff.

 

COMMENT THREAD AMAZINGNESS

P.S. - Zentrified - you said you'd add 100 and you were short.  I'm disappointed. :(

Roll Call: Zentrified, Dragic_is_Magic, lixuec, 2NASHTY, NashMV3, noonoo, Trevor Paxton, RMason, Will Smith, TheAlexSkinner, shawndy, keiththejourno, modernage13, Gatesss, Juac, Migonads, Piotr Szczesniak, SunKing, brian13, PHXgp, REneeR, ilintar, Spit_Fire, rzyn, HarvMel, the_real_MikeT, ArizonaCactus, Grey_Hound, MarsupialRogue, Eutychus, Alex Laugan, East Bay Ray, rdgroce, oneway, Catamaran1, 2time, SUNS PORTUGAL, SteveNash, QuantumPhysicist, b0rd3rline, sungod, sonicking, WaveOcean, rsavaj, SunsFan@TheOffice, Skii
Total Users: 45

Total Posts: 1151

Total Threads: 2

Name# of Posts
lixuec 171
NashMV3 120
Zentrified 90
Dragic_is_Magic 86
Trevor Paxton 64
shawndy 62
keiththejourno 58
Piotr Szczesniak 43
noonoo 41
Alex Laugan 39
ArizonaCactus 30
HarvMel 29
Gatesss 29
Migonads 26
SteveNash, QuantumPhysicist 25
Juac 24
MarsupialRogue 22
2NASHTY 21
Skii 20
TheAlexSkinner 17
East Bay Ray 16
2time 13
brian13 12
SUNS PORTUGAL 11
sungod 10
ilintar 10
PHXgp 10
rdgroce 6
Eutychus 6
rsavaj 6
RMason 6
Catamaran1 3
REneeR 3
modernage13 3
rzyn 3
WaveOcean 3
sonicking 2
the_real_MikeT 2
b0rd3rline 2
SunKing 2
SunsFan@TheOffice 1
Spit_Fire 1
Will Smith 1
Grey_Hound 1
oneway

1


"Good to have you back Steve!", "Thanks for the shorts Grant!" (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

 

Keep the party rolling!   You guys are doing great!


Guess who's back... back again. Steve is back, tell your friends (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)



Let's get it on!


Mock Draft Time -- Meet Jan Vesely

Draft Lottery! Is there anything better than having a >1% chance at winning the lottery?

Barring a miracle, the Suns will draft somewhere around 13. Here's the first Mock Draft of the Mock Draft Season.

With the 13th pick the Phoenix Suns take...


BAMF v. MVP.  OMG, I ? NBA.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

I won't mince words.  Sunday we faced the top team of the Western Conference and lost badly.   Today, two days later, we play the top team in the Eastern Conference and if I were a betting man I would bet that the result will be similar.

Two teams heading in opposite directions - the Chicago Bulls (56-20) are now favorites to win the NBA Championship this year as they head into the playoffs and they tote a deep and talented roster with a convincing MVP candidate running the show.  Our Phoenix Suns (37-39) on the other hand are destined for the draft lottery and tote a wishy-washy roster that is for the most part having a hard time finding the motivation needed to finish out the season with effort and heart.  Oh yeah, and our former MVP is injured, physically sick - and probably mentally sick of having to try and carry his team on his back for the last 70+ games. 

The ironic thing about today's match-up is this - the Bulls have won the past 4 of 5 meetings with the Suns and the last time the Suns beat the Bulls was on March 30th of last year.  It was a 111-105 victory in Chicago - and it was the game that clinched a playoff birth for the Suns last season... now they face Derrick Rose and a healthy Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah only a game removed from being officially eliminated from the playoffs this year.

That sucks.  What doesn't suck is that Steve Nash is back with the team and will attempt to play tonight despite battling an extremely painful injury and the flu.  

Hit the jump to explore the game a little more in depth.

The Game is on MY45 (TV) and Sports620 (Radio), 5:00p.m. AZ Time

Just to re-emphasize my despondent mood (in case you weren't picking up my vibe), I've got to point out something that Paul Coro wrote in his preview of today's game (link below).

Discussions regarding the Suns in recent weeks often revolved around comparisons with New Orleans and Memphis. Now they are more in the same conversation with teams such as Cleveland, Minnesota and Washington.

CLEVELAND.  MINNESOTA.  WASHINGTON.  PHOENIX

Yeah it's that bad folks.  In March and April the Suns have gone 6-12 and to fulfill their goal of finishing the season above .500 they will need to win 5 of their final 6 games here...  with games still to play against Chicago, Dallas and San Antonio again do you think that goal is reachable?   It might be too late.

Now all we have to play for is pride - and maybe a glimpse of what the future holds...  but as Scott Howard has pointed out here, the future isn't very bright for the team as the whole.  Check it out if you haven't already.

Individual Match-Ups

Steve Nash - Derrick Rose

Jared Dudley - Keith Bogans

Grant Hill - Luol Deng

Channing Frye - Carlos Boozer

Marcin Gortat - Joakim Noah

Key Subs: Kurt Thomas, Ronnie Brewer, Taj Gibson, Kyle Korver, C.J. Watson


FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
Derrick Rose 55 37.9 9.1 20.3 44.7 1.5 4.3 35.1 5.4 6.4 84.1 1.0 3.4 4.4 8.2 3.5 1.0 0.6 1.7 25.0
Carlos Boozer 38 32.4 8.1 15.0 54.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 3.1 4.5 69.6 2.3 7.5 9.8 2.4 2.6 0.7 0.4 3.3 19.3
Luol Deng 56 39.2 6.6 14.3 45.7 1.4 4.2 34.2 3.2 4.3 74.2 1.5 4.6 6.1 2.6 1.9 0.9 0.6 2.2 17.7
Joakim Noah 26 35.9 5.0 9.8 51.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 3.4 4.8 71.8 4.2 7.6 11.7 2.5 2.1 1.1 1.5 3.3 13.5
Kyle Korver 56 20.7 2.9 6.7 43.4 1.5 3.5 42.3 1.0 1.1 85.9 0.2 1.8 1.9 1.5 0.9 0.5 0.3 1.8 8.2
Taj Gibson 54 22.5 3.0 6.9 43.5 0.0 0.1 12.5 1.2 1.8 66.7 2.1 3.6 5.6 0.7 0.9 0.5 1.6 2.8 7.2
Ronnie Brewer 56 23.1 2.6 5.3 47.8 0.1 0.3 18.8 1.3 2.0 68.2 0.7 2.8 3.5 1.6 0.8 1.4 0.2 1.2 6.5
Kurt Thomas 36 24.2 2.1 4.0 52.4 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.5 0.8 64.3 1.5 4.4 5.9 1.3 0.9 0.6 0.9 3.3 4.7
C.J. Watson 56 13.1 1.7 4.7 36.0 0.5 1.2 40.3 0.8 1.1 71.4 0.2 0.8 1.0 1.8 0.9 0.7 0.1 1.0 4.6
Keith Bogans 56 17.5 1.3 3.4 39.5 0.9 2.5 36.7 0.3 0.5 61.5 0.2 1.6 1.8 1.1 0.5 0.4 0.1 1.4 3.9
Omer Asik 56 11.5 0.9 1.7 51.6 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.9 1.5 55.8 1.2 2.4 3.6 0.4 0.7 0.2 0.7 1.9 2.6
Brian Scalabrine 15 5.4 0.5 0.9 57.1 0.0 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.5 0.5 0.4 0.3 0.2 0.3 1.2 1.1

DISCLAIMER - I don't know about this inserted stats chart... it only has 56 games played for these dudes... for a more accurate stat-eval of the Bulls head to Basketball Reference here.

D.Rose

There's no stopping Derrick Rose. The kid is in some kind of zone this season, he's averaging MVP numbers - and even when his team has lost key players (like Boozer or more recently Noah) due to illness or injury Rose steps up, puts the team on his back and gets the job done. 

The last time we saw the Bulls Derrick Rose came up big in the 4th quarter and exploded to help erase a 23 point deficit and eventually win the game in double-overtime with 35 points 12 rebounds and 7 assists.  So what's the strategy?  Maybe put Grant Hill on him - we tried that last game and it worked okay as it took Rose 33 shots to earn his 35 points and he turned the ball over 4 times... but seriously it was more about Kyle Korver and Luol Deng having 24 and 26 points respectively.  Oh yeah, and Carlos Boozer didn't even play in the game. 

Look - here's the bottom line.  We know Grant Hill will bring the defense.  We know Jared Dudley will do the same. But will the other guys step up? 

Let's play a game.

21 Questions

  1. Can Gortat, Frye, and Lopez play efficient defense against Boozer's post game or Noah's lanky everywhereness or Kurt Thomas' crying and cheap-shot-veteranizing? 
  2. More importantly in my book - can Frye and Gortat stay out of early foul trouble?
  3. Can Vince stop pretending like he's injured?  I know the answer to that.
  4. Will Steve be healthy enough to run the offense and bring some equilibrium back to the team?  
  5. Can Aaron Brooks do something?
  6. Which Hakim Warrick will we see?  Good Hak or terrible Hak?
  7. Will Josh Childress be more productive alongside Steve Nash now that he's getting some consistent minutes?
  8. Will Jared Dudley continue his double-digit scoring streak? 
  9. Will Robin Lopez be blocked by Noah or Asik trying to dunk?
  10. Will Zabian Dowdell get PT if Brooks or Nash can't produce?
  11. Will our game-thread have more than 800 comments?
  12. Will Scott Howard or PanamaSun have tweets worthy of postgame recap display?
  13. Can Channing knock down open shots tonight (assuming Boozer will be guarding him)?
  14. Can Grant Hill give Rose a hard time tonight?
  15. Will Grant Hill's offensive game be 'on' tonight?
  16. Will Bogans explode for 34 and emerge a newborn SunKiller?
  17. Will Boozer at some point be fouled for an AND1 and look into the camera yelling something inaudible while clenching his right hand in a fist?
  18. Will Derrick Rose produce a 'Dunk of the Night' when Brooks is forced to guard him?
  19. What will Gortat say in his post-game interview given another bad loss to a great team?
  20. What will Gortat say in his post-game interview given a surprising victory over a great team?
  21. How many tweets will @stuff_ej_says produce tonight?  (Since EJ is going to be in his home-town - I'm expecting him to be on his 'A' game tonight) 

If you can answer any of these questions please do.

Or maybe you have your own list of questions you'd like answered for tonight's game? 

In either case - blow up this comment thread below now and prime yourself for a good game thread and recap session tonight!

Let's hope I don't have to turn this game off like I did to last night's NCAA championship game.   If that's the case my recap will be very brief.  Unless something cool happens in my neighborhood then I'll write something awesome about that.

Linkage

  • Seth's preview at the mothership (SBNationAZ) - here's a few guys on this team who will, or will not, be back next year based on what kind of toughness they show over these final few games. We're looking at you Aaron Brooks, Robin Lopez and Hakim Warrick.
  • Vally of the Suns Steve Nash Injury Break Down Video - a good video look at the injury that has hobbled our dude.
  • Paul Coro Writes about Gentry's Demand for More Effort - "We have to have all our guys playing hard," Gentry said. "It can't be just a selective few. The only thing I am obligated to do is to have the team prepared to play, and the only thing they are obligated to do is compete hard. They owe that to (Suns Managing Partner) Robert (Sarver), to every fan that has come to our games. We owe that to Phoenix, and we owe it to everyone in the locker room. That has to be our goal right now, to compete hard and do the best we can."
  • Blog a Bull - They don't have a preview up yet... but I'm sure they'll post something like, "The Suns are roiling and turning in their grave - this game is a walkthrough..."  and  they wouldn't be far from the truth. 
  • Jared Dudley on Sports620 - "Steve Nash is more valuable than a Kobe Bryant"


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