Did it help that the Suns current roster contains players who buy into Jeff Hornacek's system, or did it hurt that the Suns new roster was working to figure each other out? This new roster played with energy on a back to back, but lost to the Bulls 112-107 despite a strong Suns bench performance.
A new era is here for the Suns, with Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas out, and Brandon Knight in. The first three quarters looked promising as the Suns went into the final stanza up 83-81 before a Bulls blitz in the fourth finished them off, 112-107.
Marcus Morris led the Suns with 17 points on 8-15 shooting off the bench as his twin Markieff struggled through a 3-15 night. The newest Sun, Knight, showed flashes of why he was so highly coveted, but the Suns also looked out of sorts at time in trying to find their way with the new rotation.
Alex Len played decent defense on Pau Gasol, but Gasol hit the game-clinching runner to put the Bulls up 108-104 with 31 seconds to go.
- Bledsoe with the beautiful lob to Green off the steal, but a little too aggressive early on, and Rose draws the offensive foul as he charges like a bull. He’s forcing things with 3 TO’s in the first 6 minutes.
- Len D-ing up Gasol early, as Keef is left with the offensively challenged Noah. Gasol is showing he’s the veteran in this deal so far, hitting on the pick and pop for 9 points in the quarter.
- Early pace favors the Suns as it’s 16-15 with 6:41 to go when Knight enters the game for the first time.
- Knight’s first Suns bucket is a pullup 2 with 5:29 to go in the quarter.
- 6 Suns TO’s 9 minutes into the game. New players trying to figure each other out.
- Rough going for Keef as he’s 1-5.
- Knight to Wright for the assist that will flummox announcers for the rest of the year.
- Turnovers killing the Suns: 8 in the quarter. Bulls lead 33-28 after 1. Each team is shooting 57% from the field.
- Knight, Wright, Marcus Morris and Goodwin the four Suns playing off the bench.
- Knight has launched a couple of long twos. I think he’ll get along with the Morris twins just fine.
- Keef now 1-6. He shoots terribly every game I cover this season. Sorry, everybody. It’s clearly my fault.
- Mook covering for his twin with 4-5 for 9 points.
- Suns on the run! Take the 43-42 lead on Knight to Goodwin alley-oop off the break. This game is being played at the Suns pace.
- Nikola Mirotic’s beard is incredibly impressive.
- Tucker with the steal and quick 3. If he had missed, we would have groaned, but he made that play all on his own.
- Suns playing a bit sloppy, but hard. They’re pushing the pace and chasing loose balls.
- Turnovers in this quarter: Suns 1, Bulls 7.
- Have to think Hornacek is happy with this Suns effort so far. They’re playing with all kinds of energy.
- Suns 56-52. Suns shooting 58% from the field with 13 assists, tied at 19 in rebounds.
- Slow start by the Suns, launching a couple of bad, long twos before Tucker makes a corner 3, and Green makes a floating bank shot.
- Tucker makes a lazy pass, but then redeems himself with another corner 3, now 3-4 from behind the arc.
- Len got stuffed by Gasol twice here, then saved a bad pass back to Green, who nails the 3. Wow.
- Keef with the turnover and then the foul on ensuing break. He’s having an awful game with 1-10 shooting and now 3 TO’s.
- Knight nails the killer floater. Welcome to Phoenix, Brandon! Then Knight blows through the Bulls D for a layup. Again, he’s going to fit in just fine here.
- Len looking great on the boards, and hitting a few mid-range jumpers.
- And now Knight nails a 3. Our newest Suns is having a fine debut. Can’t wait to see what’s next from him.
- Goodwin attacks the basket with no Bulls to stop him. Suns 81-73. He has 10 points in 12 minutes on 5-6 shooting, rewarding the show of confidence in him.
- 3-pointer by Gasol narrows the lead to 83-81.
- Mook starts the quarter with another mid-range jumper. He’s playing well to make up for Keef’s poor shooting night. Suns with 43 bench points!
- Noah to Gibson for the sweet alley-oop at the Bulls tie it at 85.
- Former Sun Aaron Brooks nails the 3 to give the Bulls the 88-85 lead. Ugh. He was wide open at the top of the key.
- Brooks nails another 3. Ugh, again.
- Keef finally hits a jumper!
- Pau hits the clincher off of Len.
- Bledsoe misses a bit of a lazy 3 down 110-107 with 7 seconds to go. Game over.
Not good. A 4 game Suns losing streak coupled with a 5 game Thunder winning streak leaves the Suns a game and a half back of the 8th spot, and only a half game up from the Pelicans for the 9th spot.