Chicago Bulls (4-3) vs. Phoenix Suns (4-4)
So far it’s been a back and forth season for the Bulls and it seems they may be stuck in that rut for a while. After starting 2-0, Chicago dropped games to the Hornets, Thunder and Celtics — clearly three different teams. The wins also haven’t been impressive on paper either as they’ve come against a laughable Kings team, a banged up Timberwolves squad, the young and developing Cav’s as well as the struggling Magic team.
That being said, the Bulls defense has managed to be a shining bright spot this year, as each game they’ve played they’ve lowered their average points allowed total. Once north of 96.0ppg, the Bulls are currently giving up just around 90.4ppg (good for 5th best in the league), but while the defense is stout, the offense is averaging just 4 more points per game than the defense is allowing, which is good for 21st in the NBA.
The Suns game is one of those games that the Bulls can win but fans don’t have a lot of faith that they will.
Phoenix is sort of in the same spot Chicago is, as they’re getting better with time but they’re just in the infancy of a franchise rebuild. They got rid of Steve Nash, Aaron Brooks and others but they’re building a young core that they hope can bring them back to the Western Conference playoffs.
Chicago’s not so much in rebuilding mode as they are in waiting/we-don’t-know-what-to-do mode. There’s the wait for Rose to return but when he comes back, there’s still work to do in terms of building for the future. So is this rebuilding or is it preparing for rebuilding — or neither?
It’s that kind of confusion that makes this team a lot less interesting than it once was. There’s pieces here to win, but if the Suns game is a struggle on the schedule, then when the Bulls meet the elites of the NBA like they did on Monday in the Celtics, things won’t be very pretty.
Location: U.S. Airways Center, Phoenix, AZ
Time: 8:00pm CST/9:00pm EST
Nat’l TV: N/A
Live Stream: NBA League Pass
Radio: ESPN 1000
Line: Bulls -8
Injury Report/Inactives: CHICAGO — PG Derrick Rose (OUT), PG Kirk Hinrich (QUESTIONABLE)
PHOENIX — C Jermaine O’Neal (PROBABLE)
Key Matchup: Will the Bulls be able to manage if Hinrich misses a second straight game?
Avg. Pts Allowed
Avg. Pts Scored
Last 10 Games
Last Game: Bulls lost to Celtics 101-95, Suns beat Nuggets 110-100
Last Meeting: January 17, 2012 — Bulls 118, Suns 97
Prediction: Bulls 96, Suns 94