On Wednesday night, the Chicago Bulls dropped their fifth consecutive game by losing to the Phoenix Suns 121-116 in what was a fairly even contest throughout.
The Bulls were once again led by Nikola Vucevic, who posted a double-double by scoring 24 points and grabbing ten rebounds. Thaddeus Young contributed 19 points and 14 rebounds while Lauri Markkanen and Patrick Williams chipped in with 16 points apiece. Despite these strong performances, the Bulls were unable to take the lead down the stretch.
Devin Booker went off for a season-high 45 points as his red-hot shooting led all scorers. Chris Paul added 19 points and 14 assists as the Suns were able to control the scoreboard for the majority of the game.
Coming into the game, the Bulls were without the services of Zach LaVine, Garrett Temple, and Coby White. In particular, this was the first game LaVine missed all season due to a sprained ankle and it left a huge void in the starting lineup in regards to scoring. The lineup experimentation continued yet again as the Bulls went with one guard and three forwards to begin the game.
The Suns, on the other hand, were only missing Frank Kaminsky. The key players of their rotation were available, making this game a challenge for the Bulls.
Vucevic Continues Strong Play
Despite the Bulls not being able to pull out games since Nikola Vucevic’s arrival, the big trade deadline acquisition has still played like an All-Star. In the three games so far with the Bulls, Vucevic has averaged 22 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. Against the Suns, the Bulls kept feeding Vucevic and got rewarded as he was a consistent offensive presence.
More importantly, he looks much more comfortable playing alongside Thaddeus Young and Patrick Williams, which will become extremely important as the Bulls look to create stronger chemistry. The Bulls will hope that Zach LaVine and Coby White can come back soon to continue to build that chemistry and make a playoff push.
Bulls Have No Answer for Devin Booker
When facing the second-best team in the Western Conference, it is important to have a healthy squad. Unfortunately, the Bulls were without both LaVine and Temple. Those injuries could not have come at a worse time as the team had to take on Devin Booker.
The Bulls simply had no means to stop Booker, who carved them up by scoring a season-high 45 point points and shooting 17/24 from the field. Sometimes you just have to tip your cap to the opposing team. There was not much the Bulls could do when Booker was feeling it.
The one positive takeaway from this game was that Patrick Williams continued to gain experience guarding some of the best players in the league. While not the night he was hoping for, he said this would be a learning experience for him going forward and that is critical for his development.
What’s On Tap Next?
The Bulls will look to get their first win with Nikola Vucevic as they take on the Utah Jazz on Friday night. Tip-off is set for 8:00 PM CDT on NBC Sports Chicago.