Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Rapid reaction: Bulls 123, Suns 115 (2OT)
By Nick Friedell
PHOENIX -- Let's take a quick look at how the Bulls came back to win a double overtime thriller, 123-115 over the Phoenix Suns, on Wednesday night at U.S. Airways Center.
How it happened: Playing without Taj Gibson (right ankle) on the second night of back-to-back games, the Bulls started the game with no energy. They looked lifeless throughout most of the first half as the Suns built a 23-point lead and tried to run away with the game. Led by Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and a resurgent Kyle Korver, the Bulls offense reappeared. The Bulls picked up the defensive pressure and forced Phoenix into several crucial mistakes in the fourth quarter. As the game headed into overtime and beyond, Rose and Noah took over the contest. The pair made the play of the night when Noah fed Rose a backdoor pass that Rose put in to send the game into the second overtime, then forced their collective will on the Suns until the end. Given the circumstances, this was the Bulls’ best win of the year.
What it means: The Bulls showed a lot of determination to get back into this game. A massive amount. They could have easily folded up the tent and headed off to Denver, but they kept fighting. As the circus trip winds down, the bigger concern for Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau is that his starters have logged a lot of minutes over the past couple of games because he doesn't have much confidence in his bench. Luol Deng, Korver, Rose and Noah all played huge minutes and looked understandably tired down the stretch. Thibodeau is confident his players are in good shape, but it will be interesting see how they respond after such a taxing streak of games over the last week and a half.
Stat of the night: Deng and Rose combined to play 103 minutes and scored 61 points.
What's next: The Bulls have Thanksgiving Day off in Denver before playing the Nuggets Friday night.. After five grueling games on the circus trip, it will be imperative for the Bulls to come out with more energy and ramp up their defensive pressure once again. On Wednesday night, both were lacking at times, but they managed to pull out a victory.