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Bulls eclipsed by the Suns

Bulls fall to 30-19 on the season

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By Sam Smith | 1.31.2015 | 12:07 a.m. CT

The Bulls didn’t see any sun in their short visit to Phoenix Friday, and they left without a sunny disposition following a 99-93 loss to the Phoenix Suns.

The Bulls again fell well behind, trailing by 16 and by double digits into the third quarter until repeated runs brought the Bulls back, saw them fall back, surge again and then not have quite enough down the stretch.

The Bulls were led by Derrick Rose with 23 points and Jimmy Butler with 22. Pau Gasol had 10 points and 19 rebounds and Aaron Brooks 21 off the bench. The Suns were led by Eric Bledsoe with 23 and Goran Dragic with 21.

The loss, the second on this first part of the Bulls six game road trip, dropped the Bulls to 30-19 and 17-8 on the road. It as the Bulls ninth loss in their 14 games. It concluded an eight-game home stand for the Suns, who moved to 28-20 and hanging onto eighth in the strong Western Conference. The Bulls now will be off until playing in Houston Wednesday.

It wasn’t a slow start for the Bulls this time as much as an inaccurate one as the Bulls trailed 26-23 after the first quarter. A tough stretch by the Bulls reserves to open the second quarter put the Bulls again at a big deficit as the Suns ran off 17-2 to take a 40-25 lead before Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau went to three guards to counter the speedy and small Suns. The Bulls then began cutting into the lead with some spectacular transition slam dunks that brought the Bulls within 55-42 at halftime.

Rose going strong to the basket and Butler and Noah running out for scores enabled the Bulls to regain a brief lead before heading into the fourth quarter trailing 68-67. The Suns shot out to a 7-2 start to the fourth and kept making runs every time the Bulls pulled close or even. The Bulls fell behind 95-86 with under two minutes remaining and produced another desperate regulation finish like against the Lakers Thursday.

Observations:

1. Derrick Rose still isn’t making his threes, though his midrange shots looks good. The Bulls need the three to open the court, but perhaps Rose begins to shoot more midrange to work back to the three. Still Rose was aggressive with a two-month high in free throw attempts as his driving scores led the Bulls back from a big deficit.

2. Joakim Noah is looking as athletic as he has this season. He’s gone to the basket with aggression with his leadership vital to the team.

3. The Bulls reserves continue to produce indifferently other than Aaron Brooks. Youngsters Tony Snell and Nikola Mirotic haven’t contributed much in place of Mike Dunleavy. The Suns had a 20-8 first half bench edge.