By Joseph Phillips, Crusader Sports Editor
With seven players currently on the injured list since the All-Star break, the Chicago Bulls were in search of a morale booster by earning a possible victory over the struggling Phoenix Suns on Saturday night (February 22) at the United Center.
But after surrendering a 17-point lead late in the second quarter, the Bulls suffered their eighth loss in a row, with a 112-104 defeat by the Suns.
And in spite of the loss, Bulls rookie guard Coby White exploded for a career-high 33 points at the UC.
“I was having fun,” said White, about his spectacular scoring. “It would have been a lot funner if we would have come out with the win.”
After outscoring the Suns 24-22 in the first quarter and 33-25 in the second quarter, the Bulls offense worked to build a 57-47 halftime lead.
“We knocked some balls loose in the first half,” said Jim Boylen, head coach. “We turned them over 16 times (for 24 first half points). We had a good thing going [with a 57-47 halftime lead]. I didn’t like the start to the third.”
In the third quarter, Boylen and the Bulls watched the Suns go on a 13-0 run to open up the half, and were outscored 36-23 to close out the quarter at 83-80. Suns guard Devin Booker scored 13 of his team-high 29 points in the quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Bulls guard White scored nine points in two minutes, giving the Bulls a 94-90 lead with 8:49 left in the game.
Although White’s scoring outburst was spectacular, the Suns’ big man Deandre Ayton finished with 28 points and 19 rebounds over the Bulls smaller line-up.
The Bulls offense was shaky throughout the second half, and they committed 15 turnovers during the loss.
Final Score: Suns 112, Bulls 104.
Chicago Crusader Player of The Game:
Coby White, Bulls, 33 points.