They all count the same, that’s what they say.
The Phoenix Suns somehow managed to pull out a 116-115 overtime victory against the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday off of a sloppy, disjointed performance.
Phoenix committed 22 turnovers, most of which were unforced errors, for 30 Bulls points and also went through some major scoring droughts. The Suns had multiple opportunities in the second half to defeat Chicago, but failed to make a field goal in the remaining 4:45 of regulation.
The next came via a Keita Bates-Diop 3 nearly four minutes into the five-minute overtime to bring Phoenix within one. He then played excellent defense on consecutive isolations for DeMar DeRozan to give the Suns another chance, and Jusuf Nurkic’s tough finish with seven seconds left sealed the victory.
Nurkic returns the lead to PHX ‼️
Seconds left in OT ????
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The Bulls were sending tough double teams to Kevin Durant at every opportunity and brought in All-Defense guard Alex Caruso to get under Durant’s control and limit his opportunities off the rebound. The turnovers were mostly poor or ended in a missed open three-pointer.
Bradley Beal made his debut for the Suns, but was on a minutes restriction, which left him in extended non-running at-bats and didn’t give Phoenix much of a secondary offensive creator given Eric Gordon’s struggles (1 for 9) and the absence of Devin Booker (right calf strain). .
That’s where Grayson Allen made a lot of big shots, setting a new career high with eight 3-pointers for a team-high 26 points, along with nine rebounds and four assists.
Nurkic, like Allen, also had his best game as a Sun. He was finishing well around the rim after going through a grind there earlier in the season and was essentially the center of the offense once Durant got a double off the ball. Nurkic finished with 20 points, 16 rebounds and eight assists, making him the first Phoenix player to finish with at least that in a game since Charles Barkley in 1996, according to Stathead.
And Bates-Diop was the third newcomer to turn in his best performance of the season in this one. His score of seven points, five rebounds, three assists and three blocks doesn’t tell the story of how impactful he was. He started again for the third straight game.
Durant added 25 points, six rebounds, nine assists, two steals, one block and six turnovers.
Phoenix scored 25 points in the first 6:30 of the game before finishing the final 17:30 of the first half with just 32 more points. Chicago’s defense was in a bad mood to start the game before becoming very active and physical, something the Suns couldn’t do midway through the game to adjust the rest of the way.
Beal was an early highlight that put Phoenix up 18 points in less than six minutes. He fed Nurkic for a pair of assists and also hit two open 3-pointers thanks to extra defensive attention on a Nurkic layup and over-helping Durant.
Beal was noticeably exhausted during parts of the game, which can likely be attributed to how back injuries specifically can set players back when they escalate, given that the process for Beal didn’t even last a full week despite being lost almost a month. He checked in during the final three minutes of regulation but did not play in overtime. Beal was 3 of 12 from the field for eight points with four rebounds and four assists in 24 minutes.
Even though the Bulls had their own messy games, this was a really good performance by them once the game got halfway through the first quarter. Caruso was everywhere with 19 points, DeRozan contributed 22 and Nikola Vucevic led the way with 26.