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Bulls vs. Suns game preview and open thread

important for lottery positioning

Utah Jazz v Phoenix Suns Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

After a fun February, the Bulls have gone back in the tank in March. They’re 2-7 this month and could easily be 0-9, thanks in large part to some horrifically bad defense. They’ve lost five games in a row, including the first two of this brief West Coast road trip, which concludes Monday night in Phoenix.

It wasn’t long ago that the Suns were in the midst of a 17-game losing streak, making them an even bigger laughingstock than the Bulls have been at times this season. But like the Bulls in February, the Suns have had their own resurgence in March. After dropping to 11-50 at the tail end of February, they’ve gone 6-4 since to get to 17-54 on the season. That includes wins over the Warriors and Bucks, and there was a close loss to the Rockets in Houston.

Devin Booker has been doing his thing as the leader of the young Suns, going for 40/13/5 in a crazy OT win over the Pelicans in their last game. The 22-year-old is putting up 25.5 points, 6.8 assists and 4.1 rebounds in 35.1 minutes per game. Deandre Ayton is the Suns’ other main building block, and he’s enjoying a stellar rookie season with 16.2 points and 10.3 rebounds per game.

Thanks to the Suns’ recent hot streak and the Bulls’ own struggles, only two games now separate the two teams, making this an interesting one when it comes to draft lottery positioning. The Cavs currently sit between the Suns and Bulls with a 17-53 record.

The Suns will be playing without some key players for this one, as Kelly Oubre Jr., T.J. Warren, Tyler Johnson (acquired at the deadline) and Richaun Holmes are all out. The Bulls haven’t announced whether or not they’ll be sitting anybody on the second night of a back-to-back, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea to rest Zach LaVine at the very least since he recently missed two games with a knee injury.

Tip-off is at 9 p.m. CT. The game will be televised on NBC Sports Chicago+.