Preview: Phoenix Suns (12-26) at Chicago Bulls (20-14)

Phoenix Suns 97, Chicago Bulls 81





Reeling from a second-half letdown at Brooklyn, the Suns will continue to look for answers on the fly out East.

Solutions to the Suns’ road woes (2-17) or their current losing streak (five straight and 11 of their last 12) will need to come at the expense of Chicago, a team that – like the Suns – currently lacks star power.

Unlike the Suns, they’re finding ways to make up for it.

Sans All-Star point guard Derrick Rose, the Bulls (20-14) have managed to stay in the playoff race out East due to qualities the Suns sorely need – stubbornness, defense and the ability to will out wins when the talent doesn’t quite get them there.

While the Suns made the overnight trip to Chicago from Brooklyn, the Bulls made what was surely a much more cheerful flight from nearby New York after a quality win over New York despite 39 points from I-didn’t-think-I’d-get-suspended-for-stalking-KG Carmelo Anthony.

The win was Chicago’s fourth out of their last five games, with another of those victories coming at Miami.

In other words, everything that’s wrong with Phoenix is right with the Bulls right now.

The Suns are clearly a mess, one that is likely beyond repair. Rumors earlier this week of trade talks that would land Rudy Gay are distracting, entertaining even. They shift the focus off what the Suns (don’t) have to what they could get.

Michael Schwartz already expressed his opposition to such a move. It’s hard to argue, if for no other reason than this: what established, quality player would want to be dumped in this mess right now? There’s no potential for motivation or reawakening, something Rudy Gay appears to need in the midst of a bloated contract and a subpar season.

Unless help from the outside arrives, however, Phoenix appears resigned to its fate as a cellar-dweller.

If nothing else, the Suns can take a page (or book) from Chicago’s book Saturday night. Marcin Gortat can look at Joakim Noah and realize harsh words can be more effective directed at the opposition instead of teammates (harsh play underneath wouldn’t hurt either).

Shannon Brown (5-for-15 vs. Brooklyn) can take a lesson of efficiency from Richard Hamilton (6-of-9 vs. New York). Markieff Morris can take visual advice from Taj Gibson on how to be an impact big man off the bench.

Luis Scola can look at Carlos Boozer and…nevermind.

The point is, the Suns can look at how the Bulls took a poor turn of events (Rose’s injury, Boozer’s underachieving, etc.) and choose to fight through it instead of lying down.

Seeing that light turn on might be enough to get a Suns fan or two to sit up while they’re at it.

  • Keith

    Boozer’s been a beast lately. Wonder what the hell has gotten into him. This should be a comical game. We’re toast.

  • azbballfan

    Hopefully the Suns are competitive for 3 quarters before it all falls apart in the 4th

    win or lose i just want to see a team that gives effort

  • Cam

    Hopefully Dragic can perform well tonight and show everyone why he was handed the keys to this Ford Pinto we call The Phoenix Suns. I can hear the ping pong balls right now. The only solace I have is knowing that the Lakers currently are on a longer losing streak than the Suns. A second lottery pick would be sweet, especially knowing that the Suns get it via L.A. Go Suns.

  • Luka

    Bulls 110
    Sarvers 85

  • Cody

    Anybody hear the Gasol rumor, 76ers would get Gasol we’d get J-Rich again along with Hawes and Kwame, then Lakers would get Gortat, that trade literally only makes sense for the 6ers, the only way I’d trade Gortat is if we get back some young talent, not 2 old guys and a backup pf/c

  • azbballfan

    Even if we did that trade we would still be a lottery team

    Hawes is a good young center and Brown is a good backup

    I dont know what J-Rich could bring its beeen a while since he was on this team.

    Anything that gets young talent without sacrificing lottey picks would be fine with me

    i would have to see how many years and what money is left on those contracts though

  • Ty-Sun

    That trade rumor just sounds … odd. It really does only work for the 76ers and really only if they’re not expecting Bynum back this year AND they’re not expecting him to stay in Philly when his contract runs out.

    I think that the Lakers are in some ways in a worse spot than the Suns. They really do need to trade Gasol to try and get younger build up their own weak bench. But I also have my doubts that Howard is happy in LA and will sign a new contract with the Lakers instead of becoming a FA and moving on. If they trade Gasol to get better this season and Howard leaves, they’re screwed at the 5 next season. But if they don’t trade Gasol and they miss the playoffs this year then I think it’s almost certain that Howard leaves.

    Before Suns fans start drooling over the thought of getting Howard next year, just forget about it. Even if Sarver is willing to offer a max deal there’s just no way Dwight would want to join this circus. My money is on Howard winding up in Dallas. He’d work well with Dirk and everyone knows that Cuban has deep pockets and is just waiting to bring in another star player before he opens up the wallet again to surround him with enough talent to make another run at the championship.

    If the FO has more than 2 functioning brain cells (highly questionable!) they will just let this season play out without trying to make any big trades before the deadline. It looks like the Suns should wind up with at least the 5th or 6th pick in this year’s draft and with a little luck maybe even one of the 1st 3 picks.

    I’m really starting to like Ben McLemore. Not only does he fit the Suns’ biggest need at the 2 but right now he’s one of the top 5 NBA prospects.

  • azbballfan

    Yeah if the Lakers miss on the playoffs they are screwed big time

    Not only are all of their core players getting up there, but the only one thats not can leave as a FA and get outta town.

    Meanwhile the Lakers sacrificed bench depth and a ton of draft picks for this team.

    I dont think they have a 1st or 2nd round pick until


    They pretty much have to trade Gasol but with his value at an all-time low who is gonna bite

    With the Lakers its almost all or nothing

    and that reminds me, if Mike Brown wasnt the problem, then why is the team still sleepwalking thru games when he was fired a week into the season

  • Michael

    This trade could be done without us in a two team trade. Some negative things for the Suns if that trade gets done:
    I don’t get why we should help the Lalas.

    We would have three years with I-Rich. I like him, but I think he’s done. At least he cannot be the man who stands for rebuilding.

    Kwame still plays basketball? Please not with us.

    Hawes is no upgrade to Gortat, neither his performance nor his contract. Only thing to consider: Gortat wants to get moved…

    In case the Sixers want to throw in a lottery pick of their own for one of the next seasons, this could be reconsidered.
    Otherwise, this trade has no piece necessary for a fresh start. Ok, J-Rich, it surely would be nice to have him back, but he cannot be a piece for the future.

  • Tony


    I agree with you about that rumor sounding odd and I also concur with your opinion about the chances of Howard signing with the Suns, but I absolutely disagree with you when you suggest that the Lakers are in a worse position than the Suns are in. Although only the son of legendary Lakers owner Jerry Buss, I have no doubt about the competence and commitment of Jim Buss in taking the Lakers back to an elite position. Obviously, things in LA have failed miserably this season, mostly due to injuries. But trust me, the Lakers will be back contending for a title in no time, much sooner than the Suns will be.

    Gortat, the Suns 1st or 2nd best player depending on who you ask, is already in his prime and it’s unlikely he has a future with the Suns. From all accounts, he’s likely to be traded or sign elsewhere when his contract ends. People also forget because Dragic is 26 and turning 27 soon, he’s approaching his prime very shortly.

    So taking into consideration that the two best Suns players, one currently in his prime and the other approaching it very soon, in addition to the average time it takes an NBA franchise to effectively rebuild and contend again, probably means that both Dragic and Gortat will be past their respective primes by the time the Suns become relevant again. Such is why you don’t rebuild with middle to older players. You want to rebuild with young players, i.e., in their early 20s, so that by the time a franchise is able to acquire enough talent over a certain period of years, those young players that started in their early 20s will be in their primes when the team is able to contend again.
    For example, the Suns FO was stupid to hold onto Gortot at the expense of Lopez, whom is three years younger than Gortat. They could have also locked up Lopez’s contract for 3-4 years without worrying about it, but instead, decided to hang onto Gortat, an older center who’s contract is also ending soon. Just made no sense.

  • uncfan2005

    How does the best passing point guard in college in the last 10 years not get time over an overrated and overpaid “point guard” who can’t even pass the ball.

    idiot coach gentry idiot.

    Free Kendall

  • Robert Sarver

    Hey fans,

    I understand all the frustration, but please stay with us. The ship has not sunk, and I am instructing Lon and Lance to make any moves necessary, no holds barred, to make this team into a playoff team this year. Not the future, but now.

    2 straight seasons of no playoffs is disappointing, and so is the fact the US Airways Center has been seeing empty seats. It is important to me that this proud franchise makes the playoffs, anything else is not good enough.

    Please stay with us, Lon and Lance are doing everything they can to turn this ship around and make it into a playoff team.

    We’ll see you in April!

    Thank you fans, and All For Orng!


  • Robert Sarver

    And fans,

    I would just like to break the news that I have agreed to contract extensions with Lon, Lance and John. I know they are the right guys to turn this ship around and make it into a playoff team, and I know they are ready for the work ahead.

    Be prepared for some big news coming in the next few weeks!

    Thank you fans, and All for Orng!


  • Michael

    It’s easy to look at a brighter future when you can calculate with a payroll of 100 million plus.
    Just comparing the present rosters, the available picks the upcoming drafts and the age and contracts of the team’s cornerstones (Steve, Kobe, Pau, Howard vs. Gortat, Dragic), the Suns indeed would have a better outlook.
    But the Suns won’t exceed the salary cap,.whereas the Lalas won’t care of the luxury tax.
    Hard to compare…

  • Ty-Sun


    My only reason for saying that the Lakers are in possible a worse position than the Suns is that, if Howard decides to leave and play elsewhere next season, that will be a severe blow to their future plans. There is no one on the Suns roster who could make that big of an impact on Phoenix’s future if he left.

    Whether Dwight stays or goes, yes the Lakers will be back contending for a title before the Suns are. But if Dwight decides to leave after this season, it will hurt their pursuit of that goal. And if they trade away Gasol this season to try to improve this year AND Dwight still leaves… then the Lakers could be in big trouble next year.

    It’s really all relative. The Suns can’t get much worse but the Lakers can if certain things happen.

  • boris

    I would like to see Beasley get some real playing time tonight, I mean he is already signed, we are terrible, so why not see if he can maybe improve his play.

  • azbballfan

    Why would you give them all extensions when they were the people who gutted this team in the 1st place and then spent the money on players who either didnt fit or didnt work out or didnt even get on the court

    And i say gutted because had you just signed the players that were already here that would have kept the team intact.

    Lets just put aside the fact that their doesnt seem to be a plan in place for long term winning

    i dont call winning an “8th or 7th seed” playoff team

    of course this is the internet so it could be someone posting that to get attention.

    If Sarver wants them to stay theres nothing i can do about it

    barely making the playoffs and being a bottom seed is not success its mediocrity

  • Ryan

    Have no idea why the Suns would ship Gortat to the Lakers in that Philly rumor. Seems senseless to me. I was messing with the trade machine this morning dreaming of making my own moves as an imaginary GM. What do the Suns have that contenders want….started with JD, and came up with a trade to OKC. Figured Jermain O’Neal, Shannon Brown and Jared Dudley to OKC for Jeremy Lamb, PJIII, and Perkins and ask for OKCs first round pick(not torontos) since the Suns are taking on Perkins salary. Then ship Gortat off to Boston for Courtney Lee, Melo, and Sullinger. Boston needs a center and Gortats perfect for them(obviously this has been brought up before) but I don’t think the Suns would be asking to much seeng that theyre taking back Lees salary and he’s been useless for the Celts and ready to get more so with Bradely back.

    So to sum it all up, the Suns would have a plethora of talented young projects. See which ones develope and become appealing enough for Minnisota to trade Kevin Love to the Suns in two seasons.

  • cdubbb

    No way Gortat nets us Lee, Melo, and Sullinger. I doubt they would even trade Sullinger for Gortat straight up.

    I do like the idea of going after Lamb, I like his game. Gortat and Beasley for Perkins, Lamb, and Deandre Liggins is a trade that nets us a supremely talented player in Lamb, a nice young 2 gaurd prospect in Liggins, and a veteran center who is at least good enough to start. OKC dumps Perkins contract, gets a good center and maybe watching Durant in practice could help Beasley.. after all they are very close friends off the court. OKC also sheds about 3 million in cap. Maybe try to get a pick back as well from OKC. I see this as a win win for both teams.

  • john

    UNC fans are the worst.

  • azbballfan

    If that post was sarver, and he is extending all 3 of them maybe they have learned from their mistakes.

    Babby and Blanks didnt have alot of experience when they came here

    But thats not the kind of gm and player personnel guys you team up when you are on the cusp of a finals run

    if they have learned, and are willing to look long term and devlop players for the future then thats great!

    its just so frustrating seeing a tail spin after stoudemire left

    Hopefully they have figured it out

  • Cam

    I’m still a fan of Gortat and Shannon Brown to BOS for Fab and one of their 2 guards, pick any one of them, and a 1st rounder. I would prefer Bradley but I don’t think the Celtics are willing to trade him. Lee or terry are both making about the same, terry has a year less at 3 years but Lee is younger and has played with the dragon before.

    In this trade we get a young big and hopefully a pick and a 2 guard and the celtics get a legit center and one financial flexibility for the future.

    Also, I can’t believe Beasley is 7/8 in the first half with 14 points. Go Suns.

  • Cam

    The numbers don’t work totally so I don’t know how the Suns would be able to dump Brown on the Celtics. I just don’t want to see him playing for the Suns anymore. Go Suns.

  • azbballfan

    Suns win in easy fashion over a listless bulls team that came out half asleep

    suns are still 3-17 on the road but hey a win is a win

    so which Suns team will show up when they get home to face i think the Thunder?

    If the Suns are gonna turn around the season it has to be now.

    Even if they do, i dont see them getting passed the 1st round

    I feel good for coach gentry for once the bench didnt do too badly

    of course we all thought the team was turning the corner when we beat the Grizzlies

    i think we will know in a week

  • Russell Suns fan

    Nice win today, but back to reality.

    28 wins this year.. over or under?

  • azbballfan

    Hey Russell Suns Fan


    The Suns are on pace for something like a 6-35 road record with tonights win

    If the team was at full strength do you think we would have had a Suns victory?

    We come out and show up and play a good game every 1 in 5 games right now and thats not gonna get it done

  • Russell Suns fan

    Yes, i’m going with the under too. It’s a mess. Need a new FO, that knows how to evaluate talent in the draft. Need a new coach, not because Gentry is bad, more so this team is no longer responsive to his ways. And we need to trade probably most of the players on the current squad.

  • BCrayZ

    Well, it looks like Sarver has fallen into Babby’s trap.

    Thus, for us Suns fans, all is now lost. Sarver is such a fool.

    Luka made quite a prediction on the game. Tony is the only one with an intelligent comment.

    As he has said, our best hope is for Sarver’s worst nightmare to come true & be forced to sell the team. When Hansen buys it, they will move to Seattle. Then, after 4 or 5 dark years, we will be granted a new expansion team.