Suns’ starting 5 crushes Bulls in 2nd straight win with Kevin Durant

Mar 3, 2023, 8:44 PM | Updated: 9:49 pm
Chris Paul #3 and Kevin Durant #35 of the Phoenix Suns celebrate in front of Zach LaVine #8 of the ...
Chris Paul #3 and Kevin Durant #35 of the Phoenix Suns celebrate in front of Zach LaVine #8 of the Chicago Bulls in the first half at United Center on March 03, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

Friday’s 125-104 Phoenix Suns win in Chicago against the Bulls is right around what we can expect here over the next few weeks as the new-look squad develops chemistry and cohesion with Kevin Durant.

The end results will vary but we’ll see some brilliance mixed with some stagnation. There was enough of the former to make up for the latter on Friday.

Phoenix’s starting five was +26 in 18:29 of game time. It shot 12-for-17 from 3 together and had 16 assists. In 19 minutes!

The only time the Suns really struggled with Durant on the floor was in the early stages of the second quarter.

A little after Durant went for a rest, Chicago went on an 18-1 surge to end the first half to put the Suns down four. Phoenix scored a season-high 40 points in the first quarter but then just 20 in the following period.

But once those starters got in, Phoenix was quickly back up seven again.

The fourth quarter opened with the Bulls continuing their defensive strategy of doubling Durant as soon as he had an opportunity to attack, and the veteran forward just kept making the right play for his teammates.

That kept producing open shots, enough offense to keep Chicago away the rest of the night.

Durant ended up with 20 points, nine rebounds, six assists, a steal and a block on 7-of-10 shooting in 31 minutes. The assist number didn’t represent his playmaking well, as he had a handful of hockey assists as well, happy to trust his teammates.

One of them was Josh Okogie, who rebounded from a four-point outing on Wednesday with 25 on Friday.

He is going to keep getting some of those open shots and he has to keep taking them.

Speaking of open shots, when’s the last time you’ve seen Devin Booker this open?

The Suns’ personnel breaks the defensive philosophies, leaving the opposition with only bad decisions to make.

Booker once again benefitted from Durant’s presence allowing him to see a few easy ones go down. He contributed 35 points, five rebounds, six assists, a steal and a block.

Both Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton did not have good nights, another part of the game that speaks to how dangerous this team is. Paul hit a few 3s late to get up to 11 points with 10 assists while Ayton had seven points and three rebounds on 2-of-4 shooting.

Jock Landale was tremendous off the bench with nine points, six rebounds, an assist and two blocks. He has been great with doing the little things at a high level the last month, really locking up those backup 5 minutes.

Keep an eye on his developing two-man game with Durant, who clearly trusts Landale already.

Chicago’s star guard duo of DeMar DeRozan (31 points) and Zach LaVine (27) were involved enough to make the game semi-eventful, but the Suns’ 20-for-47 (42.6%) mark on triples compared to the Bulls’ 7-of-23 (30.4%) was the difference. That, again, can be credited to Durant and how the ball got moving when he was doubled.

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