Rapid Reaction: Bulls 92, Suns 87

January, 7, 2014
Jan 7
9:41
PM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Let's take a quick look at how the Chicago Bulls earned a 92-87 win over the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night at the United Center.

How it happened: Joakim Noah had a huge night for the Bulls, scoring 14 points, grabbing 16 rebounds and dishing out 6 assists. Taj Gibson led the Bulls with 19 points, 10 rebounds and 3 assists. Goran Dragic led the Suns with 21 points, but it wasn't enough as the Bulls built a big lead down the stretch and hung onto it by playing solid team basketball.

What it means: Playing with only nine players, and without Luol Deng (traded to Cleveland) and Carlos Boozer (sore knee), the Bulls executed well and seemed to play with the type of pace coach Tom Thibodeau has been searching for. The fact that the Bulls won this game shouldn't come as much of a surprise. Thibodeau is a master at getting the most out of his players when pundits have counted them out. Without Deng in the lineup, Chicago had to find other ways to win. The Bulls' roster is full of prideful players who aren't about to roll over for the rest of the year. The question is can they keep this up over the long haul?

Hits: Tony Snell had 12 points and was 5-for-7 from the field in 21 minutes.

Misses: Jimmy Butler had 13 points, but he was just 4-for-18 from the field in 41 minutes.

Stats of the night: Assists: Bulls 26, Suns 12. Rebounds: Bulls 50, Suns 41.

What's next: The Bulls take on the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night.

Nick Friedell | email

Chicago Bulls beat reporter
Nick Friedell is the Chicago Bulls beat reporter for ESPN Chicago. Friedell is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and joined ESPNChicago.com for its launch in April 2009.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Derrick Rose
PTS AST STL MIN
15.9 4.3 0.5 31.1
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Noah 11.3
AssistsJ. Noah 5.4
StealsJ. Butler 1.9
BlocksJ. Noah 1.5