The Bulls found themselves in another tight game, but unlike in a few wins earlier this season the game-winning plays weren't in their favor. Mirza Teletovic came crashing inbound off of a Suns miss to hit this goofy shot to win it 103-101.
The Bulls had actually been killing Phoenix on the glass in this game (Bulls at 38% ORR to 24% for Phoenix) but it had been the case throughout much of the game where the Bulls were a step slow inside, and the difference in quickness was especially there in the 4th quarter.
Because this really shouldn't have even been the close game it wound up being, as the Suns were on the second half of a back-to-back and the Bulls had them down 16 points entering the 4th quarter.
A Hoibergo lineup started the Bulls stagnation, as if not for consecutive buckets by McDermott they would've had nothing going offensively. Slowly as the quarter went on and first Rose and then Butler checked back in, the Bulls offense was actually clicking in the final frame for once. But the Suns kept coming and even at their best moments the Bulls were merely trading baskets. Rose would make a layup only to give up another to Brandon Knight. Jimmy Butler hit a huge 3 but Devin Booker came right back with one of his own.
And closing time was not going the Bulls way as it had in game-saving plays earlier this season. The Bulls had 2 possessions end in a turnover, and another with ~40 seconds to go that took way too long and resulted in a Rose miss and little chance to get another possession. The Suns were missing fairly easy looks until that final offensive rebound try.
The real bummer in this game is that there were some really nice stretches to start both halves, the first one in particular saw the Bulls playing at a faster pace than they had for much of the season. The offense was geared for Gasol, like usual (honestly, they go to him for the first play every game), but it was with a lot more urgency. And a hot start for Pau (half of his 22 points were in that initial stint) as well as Tony Snell (100% of his 10 points were in HIS opening stint) had the Bulls looking very good early. Even their misses were on open looks, and if McDermott hits a couple threes it may have been a double-digit lead early. It was a story for the game, as the Bulls shot only 6/21 from three.
The Bulls offensive pace was helped by Phoenix throwing the ball around, as they had 6 turnovers in the first quarter and 18 for the game. They were doing a solid job committing to taking away the rim, containing the duo of Knight and Bledsoe, and letting the Phoenix bigs try and hit enough shots. They hit some (including some wacky Jon Leuer fadeaways) and were hurt most by Teletovic, who finished with 20 points going 4-6 from three. But it was mostly a real nice defensive game through the first three quarters, culminating in giving up only 10 points in the third.
Teletovic had 7 in the 4th, but the real star in Phoenix's 42-point quarter (ugh) was Brandon Knight, who broke free for 17 points in the final frame. He also had 2 assists and zero turnovers, and his team had 3 of those in the 4th while the Bulls had 8 of their 18 total. So while all of Gasol, Butler, and Rose (who made 3 baskets in the 4th but was otherwise real bad yet again) all made some plays in the 4th, as a team they got steamrolled and for once couldn't pull a win out of a bad performance.