Nov. 14, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Chicago Bulls forward Carlos Boozer (5) puts up the ball during the game against the Phoenix Suns center Marcin Gortat (4) in the first half at US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-US PRESSWIRE

Suns begin five-game road trip in Chicago

NBA: Playoffs-Chicago Bulls at Brooklyn Nets


The Suns begin their five-game road trip Tuesday night in Chicago. The Suns will face the Bulls after two days off after their lopsided victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night, 116-100.

The 20-12 Suns travel to face the 14-18 Chicago Bulls Tuesday night in what will be their first meeting of the season. It will be coming on the heels of the Bulls trading away Luol Deng in order to absorb Andrew Bynum’s contract. The Suns have played well of late and have won six of their last eight games.

Key Matchup:

Miles Plumlee versus Joakim Noah. Plumlee is averaging a double-double in the last 10 games for the Suns with 11.1 rebounds per game and 10.3 points per game. Plumlee will need to be solid inside the paint Tuesday night to keep Noah in check. Noah is also averaging a double-double and one of the few bright spots for a Bulls team that had the air knocked out of their sails earlier on when Derrick Rose was lost for the season.

Key stat:

Offensive rebounds. The Chicago Bulls are seventh overall in the offensive rebounds per game this year with 28.8 per game. The Suns will need to limit those second opportunities for the Bulls if they hope to come away with a victory Tuesday night.

What the Suns offense needs to look for:

Limit second-chance points. With the Bulls trading away their best (injury-free) player in Deng they will look to Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah to provide for their offense. Second-chance points is the bread and butter of a team like the Bulls and will prove costly for the Suns if they are unable to win that battle.

What the Suns defense needs to look out for:

Keep the ball away from Taj.  Taj Gibson is now arguably the best scorer on the roster with the departure of Deng. The team will need to limit his touches and force tough shots while maintaining a good inside presence to avoid getting beat by Noah and Boozer.

Chicago Bulls sleeper to have a good game:

Mike Dunleavy is an added threat for a roster that is in need of scorers. Dunleavy can get hot quickly and will be someone to watch. He has filled in nicely when he has been put in the game.

Prediction: The Suns run away with this one 109-97 in Chicago.

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Tags: Basketball Carlos Boozer Chicago Bulls Game Previews Joakim Noah Luol Deng Mike Dunleavy Miles Plumlee NBA Phoenix Suns Sports Suns Taj Gibson

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