[Thanks to BLee for today's game preview -yfbb]
Well, that sucked.
If you stayed awake for the end of the second overtime of last night's game against the Lakers you probably went to sleep some combination of frustrated, confused, angry, BOOOOZZZZZERRRRRRRR, etc.
The Bulls had a big win against the Warriors on Monday, then they came back and followed it up with a stinker against the Lakers. Sounds familiar - they had a big win against the Rockets on January 5 before dropping their next one to the Jazz on the 7th. Oh, look, after those two big wins against San Antonio and Dallas? Yup, dropped the next one at home to Miami.
But alas, this is the regular season, which means that no matter how crummy you feel after a loss you gotta get right back on the horse. Tonight, the Bulls look to finish over .500 for the month (8-8 so far in January) as they visit the Phoenix Suns. (Fun Suns fact: they're the only NBA team to follow me on Twitter. Still unsure as to why, but I'll take it)
Last season the surprise Suns just missed out on the playoffs, being eliminated from the 8th seed in the final week of the season. Right now in 2014-15, they're holding on to that final playoff spot with a 27-20 record. The Suns are 5-2 on their current 8 game home-stand.
The Suns are a team without much star power, at least to the masses - none of their players finished among the leaders in All-Star Game voting, and per SB Nation sister site Bright Side of the Sun, Nikola Mirotic got more votes than either Eric Bledsoe or Goran Dragic. Good showing, Bulls fans.
Still, Bledsoe and Dragic, along with Isaiah "Pizza Guy" Thomas comprise a very potent three-headed point guard monster. The Morris twins, Gerald Green, and Alex Len have also played significant roles for Phoenix this season. The Suns play a very fast brand of basketball, second only to the Warriors in both pace and team points per game. The Suns WILL shoot a lot of 3's (second in the league in attempts), so watch them around the perimeter.
Earlier this week the Bulls were able to topple those mighty Warriors, but our squadron also played two overtimes last night, had to travel, had 4 players play over 42 minutes, and OH GOD BUTLER MIGHT BE HURT. (Swirsky just tweeted that Jimmy is "probable" so that's nice, but Jimmy also played 49 minutes last night) From the postgame quotes last night, the Bulls are at least aware of their defensive struggles, but I can't say I'm optimistic about the team figuring things out before tonight's game.
Can the Bulls beat another fast paced, 3 point shooting team on the road this week? Will Thibs still be the head coach at gametime? Will Niko play in the second half? Will Derrick Rose shoot better than 30 percent from the field? We'll find out tonight! Catch the game tonight at 9:30 central time - CSN and ESPN on the TV, and ESPN 1000 on your radio dial.
ALSO: One of the greatest moments in Bulls history came against the Suns in Phoenix. As we're still feeling down about last night, let's just re-live that for a moment, shall we.
PARTING NOTE: Fun transaction history on Isaiah Thomas: the pick that the Kings used to pick Thomas originally belonged to the Bulls, who sent it to Milwaukee along with John Salmons in an attempt to clear money heading into the big free agent offseason of 2010. The Bucks then sent the pick to Sacramento for Jon Brockman. It means nothing but I typed it up so it's going in the post.
Have fun, be good, go Bulls, and Thibs, please don't leave us.