Even with all hands on deck, it would’ve been a tall order for the Chicago Bulls to beat the best team in the Association.
The Bulls (33-21) trailed by double-digits most of the game. But, on the strength of (stop me if you’ve heard this before) DeMar DeRozan’s wizardry, cut their deficit to 113-104 with 5:56 left in the fourth quarter.
The Suns (43-10) then scored the next six points and held a 125-108 advantage three minutes later.
Baskets from Tony Bradley, Malcolm Hill, and Alfonzo McKinnie after both benches were emptied made the game appear closer than it actually was.
DeRozan, who scored a season-high 45 points against the Sixers Sunday, tied Devin Booker for game-high honors with 38 points. He poured in 15 of those points in the fourth quarter and has now scored 30 points 16 times this season.
Stuck From The Jump
The Suns opened the game with an 11-4 run, prompting Billy Donovan to burn a timeout at the 9:19 mark of the first quarter. Fueled by Devin Booker’s 22 points and team-wide scorching-hot shooting—JaVale McGee hit his first three-pointer since December 10––they’d go on to lead by as many as 21 points in the first half.
Their lead swelled to as big as 27 points midway through the third quarter on consecutive buckets from Devin Booker, who paced the Suns with 38 points.
Meanwhile, the Bulls missed seven of their first 10 shots, shot 31.9% in the second quarter, and went the entire period without an assist.
Back Like He Never Left
After missing the past two games due to back spasms, LaVine returned to score 32 points on 9-20 shooting from the field and 4-7 from distance.
LaVine who, like Booker, can earn a super-max extension with an All-NBA nod, added five rebounds and five assists.
Coby White (groin strain) also returned after a two-game absence. White scored 13 points and, aside from LaVine and DeMar DeRozan, was the only other Bull to reach double figures.
What’s On Tap Next?
The Bulls travel to Charlotte to play the Hornets, losers of five-straight games, on Wednesday. Tip-off is at 6:30 PM CST and the game will air on NBC Sports Chicago and ESPN.
Be sure to check out the Bulls On Tap podcast for further postgame reaction as well as Chicago basketball analysis and commentary all season.
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