Jimmy Butler returned to the Chicago Bulls line up after missing the previous three games. Butler played 30 minutes, but is still listed as day to day with that bruised heel.
Even with the return of Butler to the starting line up the Bulls suffered there third loss in there last four games and there second loss in a row as the Phoenix Suns beat them 115-97 Friday night. This was the Bulls fifth game on there current six game road trip and was easily the most disappointing loss on the trip. Phoenix has the second worst record in the NBA and you would’ve thought that the Bulls would’ve been able to get by them, but not only did they lose they where beaten by 18 points.
The game was tied four different times in the 1st quarter. An 11 to 4 run gave the Bulls the biggest lead of the quarter 23-16 with 3:04 left to play. It was then the Suns turn to make a run as they finished the quarter on a 12 to 3 run taking a two point lead 28-26 after the 1st quarter.
The Bulls scored the first six points of the 2nd quarter to take the lead back early at 32-28. Phoenix worked there way back to tie the game at 37 all and then the teams where tied again at 39 all before the Suns scored six points in a row to take the lead 45-39 with 3:11 left to play. Phoenix finished the quarter on a run of 11 to 4 run to take a 56-43 lead going into halftime.
Chicago started the 3rd quarter off by scoring nine of the first 11 points in the quarter to cut the Suns lead to six points at 58-52, but that was the closest the Bulls could get in the quarter. Chicago did outscored Phoenix in the quarter 33-30. Even winning the quarter the Bulls still found themselves down double digits 86-76 heading into the final quarter.
Phoenix’s first two baskets of the 4th quarter where 3-pointers by Jared Dudley. The second one gave the Suns a 12 point lead at 92-80 with 9:11 left to play. Chicago never got closer than nine points again in the game as the Suns slowly puled away for an easy 18 point victory 115-97.
Devin Booker of the Suns was the games leading scorer with 27 points. Eric Bledsoe added 23 points and a game high 8 assists while T.J. Warren scored 16 points. Alan Williams came off the Phoenix bench to score 14 points and grab a game high 11 rebounds.
Jimmy Butler played 30 minutes in his return and led the Bulls in scoring with 20 points and also handed out a team high 6 assists. Dwayne Wade added 18 points while Robin Lopez scored 12 points and a team high 7 rebounds. Taj Gibson had 10 points while Doug McDermott came off the Bulls bench to score 11 points.
The win improved Phoenix’s record to 17-37. This was the first of back to back games for the Suns as they had to head out on the road to face the 39-17 Houston Rockets Saturday night. The loss sent the Bulls back to two games under .500 at 26-28. Chicago get a day off before they finish up there road trip in Minnesota. They’ll face the 20-34 Timberwolves on Sunday afternoon.