The Suns looked to start off their road trip with a win in Chicago on Tuesday night, but a tough Bull’s defense, a lack of Eric Bledsoe, and the fact that the Suns were tired after running into some trouble arriving, dashed those hopes, as the Suns lost 92-87.
The Suns were facing a Bulls team roughed up by injury. Derrick Rose and Carlos Boozer were gone, and Luol Deng was traded. The SUns also had a lot working against them. Eric Bledsoe sat out his third game, and the Suns didn’t arrive in Chicago until 6 1/2 hours before tip-off due to weather. Of course, that’s no excuse, but the fact is that the Suns were put in a challenging position to win this game.
Before the road trip, I said that in order to do well, the Suns would have to keep playing the kind of ball they have been since the season began, and they’d have to pick up the slack in absence of Bledsoe. Neither of those thing happened. The Bulls’ defense shut the Suns down. They shot 40% from the floor and a surprising;y low 26% from behind the arc. They seemed to tire out, and played an 11 man rotation before the first half ended. The absence of Bledsoe hurt them on defense and offense.
Goran Dragic led all scorers with 21 points, three rebounds, and two assists. The Suns as a whole only had 12 assists. That just doesn’t work for any offense, but especially not a fast-paced one like the Suns. Gerald Green put up 15 points, but on an ugly 3-10 from deep. Ish Smith had 10 points off the bench. ALex Len finally suited up again, though he only put up three points and two rebounds. His one basket came off of a very nice looking putback.
Despite being outplayed in almost every statistical category, the Suns could’ve won. They were down five with two minutes left. The Suns knew there were players they could rely on in crunch time to score and get the Suns over the edge. The Bulls don’t have that, but a couple of key turnovers made it a moot point. The Suns were just outplayed by a tough, scrappy, defensively based team. It’s that simple
The Suns drop 10 20-13. They’ve got to shake this tough loss off immediately, because game two of the trip happens tomorrow when the Suns travel to Minnesota to take on Kevin Love and the Timberwolves.