McDonalds is going to save a truckload of cash on free Big Macs this year. The Chicago Bulls lack the offense to hit 100 points, so when they allowed Boston to score 60 in the first half, the team doomed itself to defeat. Chicago needs to improve their defense against Phoenix in order to get back in the win column.
The Suns may still be known for seven seconds or less, but so far this season, they're playing a controlled style of offense, turning the ball over rarely, and hitting the offensive glass hard. What they lack in terms of offensive talent they make up for with a lack of mistakes.
In other words, their offense looks fairly similar to Chicago's.
Much like Chicago, the Suns lack a go-to scorer, unless Goran Dragic or Luis Scola count as a go-to scorer. They'll also trot out Michael Beasley, Shannon Brown, Jared Dudley, and Marcin Gortat for the majority of their minutes. That's not a scary group. The Bulls match up well against this group.
The Suns play similar to the Bulls without an elite defense, so Chicago has no excuse not to pick up this game.
Kirk Hinrich is presently listed as a game-time decision, but the Bulls have two days off after this game before heading to L.A. to play the Clippers, so in an iffy scenario he probably sits.
Bring back the defense
The Suns don't have dynamic scorers. They aren't great three point shooters. They aren't great slashers. They rely on offensive boards, low turnovers, and running a system to get their points. Chicago needs to stay fundamentally strong, manage its box outs, and play a low risk style of defense.
If they do those three things, then they can hold this Suns team to under 90 points fairly easily.
Luol Dangerous needs to keep it going
Bloggers and fans have banged on Deng for not creating his own shot for years, well Luol Deng is in the midst of his prime and has shown flashes of taking over the game on offense. He's FG% is at the second highest point of his career, his foul drawing rate is up near the high end of his average, and his total scoring output is the best its been in years (no surprise it'd be lower with Rose being the primary option though).
If his three point shooting wasn't so off this season, he'd be having a truly monster year.
Luol will match up against Michael Beasley for much of the night, and Deng should be able to take SuperCoolBeas off the dribble pretty easily as well as get his mid range jumper whenever he wants. The Bulls will lean on Deng to provide offense as long as Derrick is out, and this matchup sets him up for a big game.
Let's hope Carlos doesn't embarrass himself
So Boozer's going up against another undersized, unathletic power forward that scores on skill, craftiness and a variety of moves. Scola plays awfully similarly to Boozer. So what do we expect? Probably a 20 point game by Scola while Boozer shoots around 40% from the field, draws one or no fouls and scores 12 points while getting exposed on defense.
No, I'm not bitter.
It gets old ragging on Boozer every game, but his minutes need to decline rapidly fast. Trying to play this guy to get some value out of his contract is a losing proposition. Taj Gibson hasn't lit the world on fire with his play, but he doesn't single handedly destroy the defense every second he's on the court either.
PG play a problem
The one problem area for the Bulls this game will be handling Goran Dragic. Nate Robinson and Marquis Teague played well enough on offense last night, but got destroyed defensively. Much like Rondo for the Celtics, Dragic makes the entire Phoenix offense go.
The Bulls need to defend him better than they did Rondo. Fortunately for Chicago, Dragic has a lot less help around him and isn't nearly the player. Still, the number one goal for the night: Contain Dragic. Hardly mission impossible.
Get this win
The Suns sit at 4-4, but the record overstates their ability. This is a weak defensive team with a pedestrian offense. The Bulls play strong defense with their pedestrian offense. They need to take this game.