The Bulls could not achieve their first four-game winning streak of the season as turnovers proved costly during a 106-97 loss to the Suns. Phoenix outscored the Bulls 32-16 in the fourth quarter, helped by eight Bulls turnovers in that frame alone.
Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton led the Suns with 22 points apiece, while Chris Paul, who was named to his 11th All-Star Game last week, posted a double-double with 14 points and 15 assists.
Five Bulls scored in double figures, led by Zach LaVine with 24 points. Coby White added 19 points while Thaddeus Young put up another double-double with a 13-point, ten-rebound performance.
The Suns came into this one as one of the hottest teams in the NBA, winning 12 of their last 15 previous games. However, they did lose to the Clippers prior to this showdown at the United Center.
The Bulls were going for their first four-game winning streak of the season, which would have brought them to .500 on the season. Lauri Markkanen and Otto Porter Jr. remained sidelined for the Bulls due to injury.
Tale of Two Halves
The Bulls and Suns were even throughout the first 12 minutes, but Chicago pulled away in the second quarter. It was truly a team effort, with six different Bulls putting up points.
LaVine led all Bulls with eight points in the quarter as his team shot 67% from the field while holding the Suns to just a 40% clip, resulting in a 12-point halftime lead for Chicago.
The Bulls did struggle from the field in the third quarter, shooting only 39% from the field, but did hold a seven-point lead heading into the final stanza.
Fourth Quarter Collapse
The Bulls lost this game in the fourth quarter and it was rough from the get-go. First, Coby White went down with a worrying injury that proved to be just a minor knock. But then, the Bulls turned the ball over. Then, they did it again, and again, and again.
Overall, the Bulls turned the ball over eight times in the fourth quarter. They coughed it up just eight times in the previous three quarters combined. On top of that, they couldn’t force any Suns turnovers, as Phoenix only had five on the night.
A quick Suns 9-0 run to start the fourth gave the road team the lead, and a 18-5 run solidified the Suns’ lead for good with four minutes remaining. The Suns took advantage of all the Bulls’ fourth-quarter turnovers by shooting a whopping 68% from the field while the Bulls shot just 33%.
Despite the Bulls maintaining control for a majority of the game, the scoreline turned into a near blowout. They scored fewer than 100 points for only the third time this season.
What’s On Tap Next
The Bulls now head to Tampa Bay to take on the Toronto Raptors at Amalie Arena on Sunday night. Tip-off is set for 5 PM CST and the game will be televised on NBC Sports Chicago.