GAME NIGHT FROM PHOENIX
7PM CT tipoff
Bulls (3-10, 1-6 on the road) at Suns: (6-11, 3-7 at home)
LAST GAME: Bulls - 123, Hornets - 120. Suns - 122, Lakers - 113.
TV: NBC Sports Chicago, Neil Funk and Stacey King
RADIO: WLS 890AM, Chuck Swirsky, Bill Wennington, Steve Kashul. 6:30 CT
LEADING SCORERS: Bulls: Holiday - 15ppg. Suns: Booker - 23ppg.
LEADING REBOUNDERS: Bulls: Portis - 8. Suns: Chandler - 9.
LEADING ASSISTS: Bulls: Grant - 5. Suns: Booker - 4.
KEYS TO THE GAME: Devin Booker has arrived as an elite scorer in the NBA in only his third season at the age of 21. He’s that good. The problem is that he needs help around him. With Eric Bledsoe now hoopin’ with the Bucks, it has put enormous pressure on Interim Head Coach Jay Triano to find consistent scoring behind Booker and T.J. Warren (on my CCI All Underrated Team). Tyler Ulis, out of Marian Catholic High School and the University of Kentucky, had a fine ballgame against the Lakers scoring 15 points and handed out 7 assists.
Phoenix allows a league high 116 points per game...so if the Bulls can run, get transition hoops...establish the post with Lopez early...swing it...it’s a recipe for success. Expect a ton of shots to go up tonight..whether they go in is another story. The Suns lead the league in field goal attempts, nearly ninety per game. The Bulls are eighth at eighty-six per contest. More on the Suns. Despite Alex Len’s 17 point 18 rebound performance Friday against the Lakers, he’s been a major disappointment for Phoenix. The jury is still out on newly turned 20 year old Dragan Bender. I’m not writing him off but he needs to string productive games together. Josh Jackson drafted fourth overall needs time but remember Lauri Markkanen, who went three picks AFTER Jackson, was playing in Tucson with plenty of Arizona eyeballs on him. Triano is a very good coach. These are the two youngest teams in the NBA so it will be a fun game to watch/listen to. If the Bulls can bring the same intensity and ball movement as they did against the Hornets, they can get this game. Setting the tone for a successful west coast trip starts tonight here in Phoenix. The Bulls will be without David Nwaba for the sixth straight game.
MARKKANEN RETURNS TO ARIZONA: I had a one on one sit down for BullsTV with the sensational Bulls rookie about his one year playing ball at the University of Arizona. He loved playing under Sean Miller and the coaching staff and enjoyed his college experience. He selected Arizona over North Carolina and Utah. He told me during his stay in Tucson, he traveled to see the Suns play once and also caught a Coyotes hockey game. He also attended an NBA All Star Game several years ago. Trust me, he’ll be participating in All Star Weekend in February in LA.
HOIBERG/CHANDLER: Did you know the Head Coach of the Bulls and veteran center Tyson Chandler played together in 2001? Members of that club included Jalen Rose, Greg Anthony, Eddy Curry, Charles Oakley, Kevin Ollie, Meta World Peace, and Jamal Crawford.
UP NEXT: Tuesday night at Los Angeles Lakers.
NBA NEWS AND NOTES:
Boston won its 15th straight game as they held off Atlanta. The Hawks are 3-13. The Celtics are doing this WITHOUT Gordon Hayward. Irving, Brown, Tatum....wow.
A bizarre game in Philadelphia as the Warriors outscored the 76ers 47-15 in the third quarter and turned a 24 point deficit in to an eight point win.
A nice bounce back win for the Hornets ending a six game slide as they extended the Clippers losing streak to eight games. Kemba Walker, who lit up the Bulls Friday night, scored 26. He was questionable prior to tip with a wrist issue. Dwight Howard with a 16-16 game. So if you’re the Clippers what do you do? A major trade? Interesting times ahead.
Dallas wins! Mavs in the books with a much needed victory — like by 32? Milwaukee had won four straight. Giannis with a 21-17 game. Every game he’s putting up ridiculous numbers but I refuse to take his greatness for granted.
Utah won its first road game of the season and they did it in spectacular fashion blowing out the Magic by 40. Raul Neto was...are you ready for this...a plus 40.
Memphis has now dropped 7 of its last 9 games after a 5-1 start. Houston by 22.
Portland handed the Kings their ninth straight road loss.