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Suns’ starting 5 to remain intact, for now

November 14, 2012: Suns end quick homestand with visit from Chicago Bulls

It is early, yes, but if the trend continues then head coach Alvin Gentry may have no choice but to consider a change with his starting lineup.

The Suns have trailed after the first quarter in each of their past three and four of their last five games, including by double digits against Cleveland and Utah.

The Suns are 3-2 over this stretch, but digging themselves out of early deficits is not something Gentry wants his team to get in the habit of doing.

That alone is reason enough to make a lineup change.

On the flip side, according to Gentry, “We’re trying to establish some consistency. I don’t want to start just plugging guys in-and-out, in-and-out, in-and-out.

“We’ve played eight games now. Maybe after 10 games, 12 games or something we’ll decide that this is just not going to work this way and we’ll try something differently. But I don’t want to just pull the plug on some guys right away and start sticking guys in-and-out.”

The Suns are a .500 team after eight games, about where many pegged this team coming into the season.

“We’re learning on the fly,” Jared Dudley said. “All these new guys, they’re trying to find their different games. We see on the film what the problem is and now it just takes repetition. Obviously, when the ball is moving the better quality of shots (we get).

“For every game to game, it changes on what’s the problem; and that happens with a young team that’s not really maturing. We’re going to need to shore that up, especially with this tough stretch coming up.”

Gentry said Jermaine O’Neal is “en route” but is unsure of his availability for Wednesday night. O’Neal has missed the team’s last five games because of a death in the family.

Gentry said the Bulls “are not going to get out and run a whole lot but they’re really good at executing in half court. They’re not a huge pick-and-roll team, which is a little bit different than the league. They do such a good job of getting their shooters open you got to do a good job of locking and trailing and staying on their shooters.”

Suns have lost six of seven against the Bulls, who have won three straight in Phoenix
Suns last win over the Bulls was March 30, 2010
Suns have won three straight at home

Wednesday’s game is the first of five straight on the road for the Bulls, who will be spending the next two weeks away from home while the circus invades the United Center.