PHOENIX — The Phoenix Suns were the rested team and the Chicago Bulls were the ones coming off a back-to-back on the road, yet it was the Suns who came out extremely flat. They dug themselves an early hole and never led in a 101-92 loss at home to the Bulls.
To say the Phoenix Suns (29-19) started slowly would be disrespectful to the term “slow.” The Suns stumbled out of the gate, scoring just 13 points in the first quarter and 33 in the first half, shooting just 30 percent from the field and 14.3 percent (2-for-14) from the 3-point line.
Goran Dragic, the reigning player of the week and owner of a four-game streak with 20 or more points, scored just four points in the first half, missing some easy shots and finishing 1-for-6. He would continue his streak, getting hot in the second half en route to finishing with 24 points and seven rebounds.
The third quarter was a different story, as the Suns started the quarter by scoring on four consecutive possessions to keep the game within reach. Dragic finally got going, including a nice steal that resulted in a breakaway layup. However, tensions would start to rise and it hurt the Suns more than it hurt the Bulls.
Dragic and Kirk Hinrich started playing more physical with each other when a funny confrontation came along. As the whistle was blown for a foul on Hinrich, he decided to knock the ball out of Dragic’s hands. Goran raised up his arms in protest and was hit with a technical foul. It was that kind of night.
Channing Frye finished with 18 points and eight rebounds but shot just 2-for-11 from the 3-point line. Leandro Barbosa added 13 off the bench, with Markieff Morris adding 12. Gerald Green had an off night, scoring five points on 2-for-13 shooting. The Suns shot just 38.8 percent as a team.
- Dragic extended his streak to five consecutive games with 20 or more points.
- The 33 points in the first half was a season-low for the Suns.
- Phoenix was whistled for three technical fouls for arguing.
Leandro Barbosa did a great job giving the Suns a spark off the bench when they needed it the most. In 11 minutes, he scored 13 points with two assists, including going 7-for-8 from the free-throw line. He certainly looks like the old “Brazilian Blur.”
The Suns are badly missing two things — Eric Bledsoe‘s perimeter defense and a defensive rebounder. The Suns continued to give up penetration, leading to open shots all night long. Additionally, they couldn’t clear the defensive glass and ended up allowing too many second chances.
There’s no rest as the Suns hop on a flight to face the Houston Rockets on Wednesday, February 5th, from the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.