[Thanks to BigSmooveDucky for today's game preview -yfbb]
Today is bittersweet for many Bulls fans, as NBA Iron man and hometown favorite . What the Bulls plan to do with this newly found financial freedom remains to be seen, and is a different soap opera for a different day. In the meantime, the Bulls are hosts to the visiting, and surprisingly competent, has been traded to the essentially for cap flexibility and draft picksPhoenix Suns.
It has been a trying season for the Bulls offensively, but things seem to be straightening out as the team has won 5 of its last 7 games despite the fact that they average a league worst 91.3 points per contest for the season. Ball movement has seemed more fluid compared to earlier in the season and DJ Augustin has done a very good job of generating decent looks when the offense breaks down. Couple that with some good Mike Dunleavy and Tony Snell showings and the Bulls have looked pretty well.
On the opposing side of the court are the Phoenix Suns who, at 20-12, are currently third in the Pacific Division and only 1.5 games out of first. They have received very stellar backcourt play out of their guards Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe who are averaging 19pts per game and 18pts per game respectively, while Channing Frye and the Morris twins have held the paint together as well. [Eric Bledsoe is out for tonight, fyi -yfbb]
The Bulls have flat-out struggled to defend the 3pt line, and with the departure of Lu, things are only going to get more difficult. Bulls' guards need to be diligent this evening and communicate. A lot of responsibility will fall on Jimmy Butler and Kirk Hinrich to direct rotations for the wings and try to force the Suns backcourt into contested threes or long twos. We may also see significant minutes for Tony Snell which I think will be good for him today and the rest of the season.
Today marks the end of an era and the beginning of a new journey. Whatever the future brings is still a mystery to everyone outside of the front office. But rest assured, we will all be strung along for the ride.
Tip-off is at 7:00PM CT, WGN-TV/WGN America and ESPN 1000AM