Bulls Halt Suns' Scoring, Win Streak
The Suns got close time and time again.
They cut a double-digit lead to seven. To five. To four.
Each time Chicago responded.
Try as Phoenix might, they couldn't, as Suns Head Jeff Hornacek said after the game, "get over the hump."
The result was a frustrating 101-92 home loss to the Bulls which snapped the Suns' five-game winning streak.
"They took us out of our stuff, but we let them do whatever they wanted," Hornacek said.
The game was an odd one from the outset. It was the offensive-oriented Suns who struggled to score, the defensive-minded Bulls who made all the momentum-swinging shots that mattered.
Before the game, Hornacek said the matchup would be "a battle of who's going to play their style." The Bulls won that battle, slowing the game to a crawl. Phoenix mustered just 33 points in the first half. A combined 60 free throws were taken. Even the Bulls' turnovers, of which there were 18, were of the out-of-bounds variety that prevented the Suns' running game from ever taking off.
Goran Dragic and Leandro Barbosa did their best, anyway, combining for 21 of the Suns' 29 fourth-quarter points. That led to...
Barbosa's and-one layup cut the deficit to four with 3:46 remaining. The sequence that defined the evening followed.
Barbosa missed the free throw and a chance to make it a one-possession game.
With one second remaining on the shot clock, Chicago's Jimmy Butler took advantage of a last-second breakdown in the Suns' defense to slice in for the layup, pushing the Bulls' lead to six.
Five seconds later, the Suns committed one of their 21 turnovers on an offensive foul, called on Channing Frye for a moving screen.
Phoenix again contained Chicago late into the shot clock. Desperate to get a shot up, Joakim Noah barrelled across the lane and threw up an wild one-handed push shot. It banked in with less than two seconds on the shot clock.
"We could never get over the hump," Hornacek said. "Every time we had a little run, something crazy happened."
HIGHLIGHT OF THE GAME
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
"We have to look into the mirror and say, 'okay, I did everything that I could.' Tonight, even I cannot go there and see my face because I did not do everything it takes." -- Goran Dragic
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Goran Dragic didn't look destined for his fifth consecutive 20-point performance at halftime. He had just four points at intermission.
The second half was a different story. The sixth-year guard scored 20 points in the second half on 8-of-9 shooting to help keep the Suns in the game despite Chicago's energy-sapping influence over the game. He finished with 24 points, seven rebounds and a steal.
PHOTO OF THE NIGHT
STAT(S) OF THE NIGHT
5 - the number of assists logged by guard Gerald Green. It was Tuesday night's team-high, punctuating a night in which Head Coach Jeff Hornacek said the Suns did not play the team-oriented basketball they normally exhibit. The team finished with just 12 assists on 31 made field goals.
TWEET OF THE NIGHT
Win or Lose, I'm still a proud Phoenix @Suns fan.— Suns' Benchwarmer (@Nguyen_Cow_Moo) February 5, 2014