Some games they’ll be days like this. When it happens, you wish it was another day.
The Chicago Bulls looked like they were coasting to a victory over the road-weary Phoenix Suns. The Bulls had a 77-61 advantage entering the fourth quarter and things looked pretty good for Chicago.
Then Brandon Knight went to work. Knight, who scored 21 points on the night, had 17 in the fourth quarter and his team found the energy to compete and win a close one from the Bulls. Mirza Teletovic scored on a follow shot with just :03 seconds in the game to put Phoenix up 103-101.
“You have to go out and take it, Knight said after the game. “After losing three or four like that (on this road trip) I think we realize that. That’s what we did tonight.” In Memphis, the Suns lost on a late alley-oop play that seemed to sting.
In the fourth quarter, the Suns got after it, getting second chance points, playing aggressively, and out-played Chicago to steal a win from the Bulls.
“The guys could have easily quit and they didn’t,” said coach Jeff Hornacek. “They kept playing and they made some plays and pulled out what’s been a big win for us.”
Six Suns scored in double-figures and Teletovic had 20 points, including the game-winning shot.
The Bulls wasted a good effort from Pau Gasol who scored 22 points, had ten rebounds, and 6 assists. Jimmy Butler scored 19. D-Rose had 14 points. Nikola Mirotic added 13 while Tony Snell chipped in with 10 points. Taj Gibson had 8 points and 8 rebounds. Joakim Noah had a nice floor game with 9 boards, and 6 assists. He scored 3 points.
Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg lamented the play of the Bulls, noting how well they played prior to the last quarter. “We got a 16 point lead, played our best defensive quarter of the year, outscoring them by 26-10 in the third and follow that up with our worst defensive quarter of the year.” The Bulls allowed a 42-24 fourth quarter, and this coming from a defensive team that had one of the league’s best field goal percentages vs. the opposition.
The Suns got second-chance points, controlled the tempo of the quarter, and won the game. Both teams shot near 45% –it’s just that the Suns came on strong and made them count.