Sure, you could read the box score and know who won, but we all know that won’t tell you everything that happened in a basketball game. So, we will give you Suns Strokes, providing you with the analysis, quotes and notes from the Suns’ 97-81 win over the Bulls on January 12.
The Suns hung tough with the Bulls in the first half largely due to the play of Luis Scola. Phoenix’s starting power forward had his way early with Carlos Boozer, scoring 14 points in the first 18 minutes of play.
Through the first three games of the Suns’ road trip, Michael Beasley was rarely heard from off of Phoenix’s bench. Beasley, who was held out due to a coach’s decision in Milwaukee, played a combined total of nine minutes in losses to Boston and Brooklyn.
Against the Bulls, Beasley came out firing on all cylinders. In the second quarter alone, Beasley scored 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting, including a pair of dunks and a layup to beat the halftime buzzer. He would finish with 20 points on 10-of-14 shooting.
Because of the efforts of Beasley and Scola, Phoenix held a seven-point lead at the half for the second consecutive night.
But unlike their prior three losses on the trip, the Suns controlled the third quarter, outscoring the Bulls 28-21. The third frame has been pivotal this season for Alvin Gentry’s squad, as they are now 10-2 when leading a game going into the fourth quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Phoenix’s bench did the rest. The Suns’ reserves outscored Chicago’s bench unit 47-30.
For the second consecutive night, Marcin Gortat was rather ineffective for the Suns. After drawing two quick fouls five minutes into the game, Gortat allowed Bulls center Joakim Noah dictate the action in the post the rest of the way. Gortat finished with just eight points on 3-of-4 shooting.
He Said It:
“We needed this kind of win, against a good team, on the road, where everyone plays well. A lot of guys contributed tonight. Everyone was ready to play and everyone was happy for each other.” – Luis Scola
• With the win, the Suns avoided coming a game within the franchise-record 14-game road losing streak set back in 1984.
• The victory is No. 2000 in the organization’s 45-year history. The Suns become the ninth NBA team to reach the feat and the fourth-fastest to do so.
• Jared Dudley missed his first game of the season due to a right wrist injury he suffered in the fourth quarter of Friday’s loss to the Nets. Shannon Brown started in his place.
• Phoenix’s victory over Chicago was the team’s first all season on the second game of a back-to-back.
The Suns return home to Phoenix and face the defending Western Conference champions, the Oklahoma City Thunder, Monday night at 7:00 p.m.