Postgame Central: Suns vs. Bulls - Nov. 14, 2012
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Suns Rally, Fall Short to Bulls in OT
By: Stefan Swiat, Suns.com
Clutch is the best way to describe the Suns’ second unit recently. Helping the Suns go 3-1 in the four games coming into their contest against the Bulls, it was no surprise that the reserves were at it once again Wednesday.
After trailing as many as 18 in the second half and 14 headed into the fourth period, the Suns bench mounted an impressive comeback to force overtime, before falling 112-106 to Chicago at home.
“The one thing I talked to the guys about was we dig ourselves a hole and you’re down 18 points in the second half you put yourself in a perfect storm situation,” Suns head coach Alvin Gentry said. “We can get back, but to get all the way back and over the hump is almost impossible. We need to be playing from an area where you are two down or four down or two up or four up with the same kind of intensity and then I think we will be fine.”
In order to be successful this season, Suns head coach Alvin Gentry asked his Suns players to limit turnovers and rebound. Phoenix outrebounded Chicago by five on the night and finished dead even in turnovers.
Unfortunately, the Suns allowed the Bulls to shoot 50 percent (including 59 percent in the first half) from the floor, which was too much to overcome for Phoenix. The Suns only shot 40 percent on the night.
For most of the night, it turned out to be the “Battle of the Power Forwards,” with Suns power forward Luis Scola racking up 24 points and 14 rebounds, while the Bulls’ Carlos Boozer totaled 28 and 14.
“Like I said, the guy just competes like crazy,” Gentry said of Scola. “He knows angles and basketball.
“When we lost him and he was playing so well offensively. We were kind of going through him and so when he fouled out it put us in a little bit of a tough situation.”
Spearheading the late-game rally was diminutive backup point guard Sebastian Telfair, who uncorked the best game of his season, totaling a season-high 17 points to go along with his four assists and countless moments of game-changing defensive pressure.
In the fourth period, Telfair changed the momentum by forcing Bulls point guard Kirk Hinrich into a five-second violation and a turnover that frustrated Hinrich so much that he proceeded to commit a technical foul. Telfair totaled nine points in the final period, while reserve two-guard Shannon Brown continued to play the role of closer for the Suns, scoring 10 of his 11 points in the fourth.
“We did a good job defensively and we had probably our best defensive team in,” Gentry said. “Bassy made some shots and we found a way to come up with some baskets. When we do that with that group out there, we usually feed off of that and we usually get even that much better defensively.”
Reserve swingman P.J. Tucker came off the pine to make several hustle plays, including the tying basket with 9.4 seconds left in regulation to send the game into OT at 100 apiece. Tucker scratched and clawed his way to seven offensive rebounds in 28 minutes of action. He collected six points, eight boards, one block and a steal on the evening.
“We locked up and did what we had to do (defensively),” Tucker said. “It took so much out of us to fight back. When you get down like that in this league it’s hard to come back and win.”
Goran Dragic (12 points), Michael Beasley (12) and Marcin Gortat (11) rounded out the six Suns in double figures. Chicago captured their fourth-straight win in Phoenix, matching the longest active streak by a visitor.
Phoenix fell to 3-2 at home on the season and 3-1 in games which it tops 100 points.