The Chicago Bulls will try for their first four-game winning streak of the season when they host the Phoenix Suns on Friday night.
Chicago is coming off a 133-126 overtime win against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday. The Bulls blew a 10-point lead in the final five minutes of regulation but rallied with a 7-0 run to start overtime.
Another win would boost Chicago to .500 for the first time since Jan. 5, when the team improved to 4-4.
All-Star guard Zach LaVine, who led the Bulls with 35 points against Minnesota, said he and his teammates were learning how to win under first-year head coach Billy Donovan, who replaced Jim Boylen during the offseason.
“Billy’s been great, man,” LaVine said. “Total 180 from what we had last year, ’cause we pretty much have the same team. We’ve had our share of ups and downs, games we should have won and didn’t come out and play the right way, but our approach and my approach is just so much different mentally. I’ve been saying this the whole time, (Donovan) challenges you, and he’s so respected and goes about it the right way.”
The Bulls will face a tough test against Phoenix, which has won 12 of 15 games since Jan. 28. The Suns are looking to bounce back from a rare loss as of late after falling short 124-121 against the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday.
Friday marks the start of a three-game road trip for the Suns, who also will make stops at the Minnesota Timberwolves and Los Angeles Lakers before returning home March 4 against the Golden State Warriors.
Devin Booker led the Suns in their most recent contest with 33 points on 13-for-24 shooting, including 4-for-10 shooting from beyond the arc. Chris Paul had a double-double with 20 points and 10 assists.
Earlier this week, Paul earned his 11th career All-Star selection.
“It means a lot,” Paul said. “There are so many people that make it possible for me to even play. A lot of times, people see you out there during the games, but the training staff here, … my family, everybody plays a huge role in everything that goes on. I’m grateful for the Suns organization, my teammates and my own personal team.”
This will be the first meeting of the season between the teams.
In 2019-20, the teams played only once, with the Suns holding on for a 112-104 win on Feb. 22, 2020. Booker finished with 29 points to lead the Suns while making 5-of-10 shots from beyond the arc. The Bulls’ top scorer was Coby White, who scored 33 points on 11-for-22 shooting, including 7-for-13 from long distance.
White ranks third on the Bulls this season with 15.7 points per game. He trails LaVine (28.8) and Lauri Markkanen (19.1), who is out because of a right shoulder sprain.
Booker paces the Suns with 25.0 points per game this season, while Paul (16.7) is second and Deandre Ayton (14.0) ranks third.
–Field Level Media