Coming into Wednesday night’s game against the Phoenix Suns, the Chicago Bulls were the owners of a 4-game losing streak. With blowout loses to the Celtics and Raptors coupled with the comeback defeat by the Bucks last week, the Bulls were in need of a shift in energy.
Little did the Bulls know, that shift in energy would come by way of second-year backup Point Guard Ryan Arcidiacono.
While some might look at Arcidiacono’s 14 points and 4-of-6 shooting from behind the arc as a huge piece of the Bulls success on Wednesday, it was another specific play that gets credit for setting the tone at the “Madhouse on Madison”.
With 1:15 remaining in the 1st quarter, Arcidiacono took flight over the Phoenix Suns’ bench into the 3rd row in an effort to attain possession of a loose ball.
“I just tried to bring energy to the team. I made a few shots, but I just wanted to make a hustle play to get energy in the building and get the team going,” said Arcidiacono in his postgame interview after the Bulls’ 124-116 victory over Phoenix.
Wednesday night’s contest was a game that saw the Bulls go head-to-head with future star Devin Booker (23 pts. 6 ast. 2 reb.) and rookie phenomenon DeAndre Ayton (18 pts. 12 reb. 5 Ast.) it was important that the Bulls didn’t let the Suns’ 3-13 record fool them into not bringing their A game.
“We really wanted to come in here and get a W,” said Arcidiacono.
On their way to earning a much needed win, it seemed as though the Bulls did a lot of things right. They went 21-24 from the charity for the game versus just 10-10 for Phoenix. Another plus for the Bulls was holding the Suns to just 47 points in the second half and giving up 24 points in the paint almost a complete 180 to the 42 points they allowed in the first half.
“You’re proud of the effort after a really tough week…to have them as locked in as they were,” said Fred Hoiberg in his postgame press conference.
One thing about this game that must not go unmentioned was the fact that the Bulls had 6 players in double figures. Of the 6 players, the most notable were Zach Lavine (29 points 10-20 from the field) and Jabari Parker (20 pts. 13 reb. 8 ast).
While Lavine owned up to struggling early in the first half, he did finish strong. On the opposite side of the spectrum, it was the general consensus even by Parker’s account that this was one of his best games in a Bulls uniform.
“I give credit to the practices we’ve had and the coaches staying patient with me. I just do what I can to win,” said Parker after the game.
At 5-13 on the season, the Bulls are off to and underwhelming start to say the least. Granted, missing 5 core pieces to your team does not lend itself to the narrative that you’ll be world beaters by any means. Either way the Bulls are staying optimistic.
“It feels better to get back in the win column. Just a different feeling to come back into the locker room after you played a full game. The satisfaction of a win instead of a loss. So hopefully we can pile a few together,” said Zach Lavine.