Chicago Bulls go 0-3 on their West Coast trip, falling to the Phoenix Suns 129-102 — their 8th loss in 10 games – The Denver PostMarch 19, 2022
The Chicago Bulls returned home empty-handed from a three-game West Coast trip after a 129-102 blowout loss to the Phoenix Suns, sending the team to its third straight loss and eighth in 10 games.
The Bulls threw in the towel with four minutes left on the clock as both teams subbed out their starters in the drubbing. The loss marked the second-straight game in which the Bulls ceded 125 points or more.
The Bulls headed West ready to be tested. The Suns and the Utah Jazz are among the best in the opposing conference, and coach Billy Donovan welcomed the challenge as a chance to prepare the team for the postseason. But with the Bulls 3-8 since the All-Star break, it’s hard to tell how much is being learned from the team’s recent run of losses.
For a quarter the Bulls held onto hope, but the game got ugly quickly — mostly at the hands of Devin Booker.
The Suns guard dropped 20 points in the first half, nearly matching the production of DeRozan, Vučević and LaVine, who scored a combined 22 points. The Bulls couldn’t slow Booker on blow-by drives, and even double teams weren’t enough to knock him off his midrange shots.
Teams continue to swarm DeRozan — who managed only 19 points on 6-for-14 shooting — and the rest of the Bulls offense couldn’t absorb the load of their limited star. LaVine took only seven shots, a personal low for the season as he continues to play through a left knee injury.
Vučević and Tristan Thompson were able to match the production of Deandre Ayton and JaVale McGee around the rim, keeping the teams mostly level in the paint. But the Bulls simply didn’t have a counter for Booker, who scored 28 points before being pulled midway through the fourth quarter.
The Bulls created flashes of success, particularly pushing the pace in transition through LaVine and Alex Caruso. But a lack of finishing from every area of the court held the Bulls back from matching offensively. They shot 41.2% from the field and only 25.9% from 3-point range.
While the Bulls are still missing starters — Patrick Williams is expected to return next week, while Lonzo Ball is still sidelined indefinitely — the Suns weren’t at full strength either, missing injured stars Chris Paul and Jae Crowder.
The Bulls now face an uphill battle in the final 12 games of the season as they jockey with the Cleveland Cavaliers just above the play-in cutoff line.
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