Phoenix Suns host Chicago Bulls, look for 6th straight victory

Jan 7, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah (right) and Phoenix Suns center Miles Plumlee (22) go for a loose ball during the first quarter at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Phoenix Suns host Chicago Bulls

Following an easy victory over the lowly Bobcats and a couple days off, the rested Phoenix Suns host Chicago, trying to earn their 30th win on the season. If they did so, they’d be the eighth team in the entire league to get there so far this year.

To reach that plateau, they will need to get past the pesky Chicago Bulls. They are must a game under .500 at 23-24 and solidly in the playoff race back East. However, their last week has been up and down. Last Wednesday they won in San Antonio over the Spurs by ten points, but then went on to lose their next two games by nine and 29 to the mediocre New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings respectively. That’s a big turnaround.

With former MVP Derrick Rose sidelined with injury and Luol Deng now on the Cavaliers, the Bulls are certainly just a defensive team. They give up the second-least number of points (92.8) per game. However their record is not great, because they are last in the league in points scored, averaging a mere 92.0 points per game. So they give up (barely) more points than they score, which explains why they’re (barely) under .500 on the season. They don’t have a difference-maker. He’s sitting on the bench in a suit.

Key Matchup:

Miles Plumlee versus Joakim Noah. The hyper-competitive, hustle center from Chicago was fined $15,000 for his words and actions against the Kings after getting ejected. He will probably try to put up big numbers Tuesday after his team just lost by nearly 30 to the horrible Kings. That’s embarrassing. Plumlee has to lock him down. Keep your body on him so he can’t get free for offensive rebounds and definitely not for put back dunks.

What the Suns offense has to focus on:

Get in a flow, put up as many points as possible, especially in transition. The second-best defense is nothing to be trifled with. The Bulls still have a decent team without Rose and Deng, but the Suns bench could still blow this game wide open. They need to take advantage.

What the Suns defense needs to watch out for:

Points in the paint. Just win that battle and they should win the game. Their offense is mostly predicated on hustle. Contest shots and don’t give up easy baskets, or anything close to the rim.

Prediction:

Suns win their seventh in a row, by a score of 95-84.

Topics: Basketball, Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, Miles Plumlee, NBA, Phoenix Suns

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