Not much to be said about this one. Not much good anyway.
It wasn’t so much the final score, although goodness knows a wire-to-wire 122-111 loss at home to a team struggling to get within hailing distance of .500 is sufficiently embarrassing unto itself.
But what was even more deplorable was the way the Suns played. Take their defense. Please! There were times when they were not only standing around, which is also sufficiently embarrassing unto itself, but seemed to have their hands in their pockets and their minds elsewhere. I’m not sure where their interest was, because I didn’t notice it.
Maybe that’s a tad too harsh, but by any estimate this was as disturbing a performance especially in the first 20 minutes or so, as the Suns have put forth in many a moon— the kind that pushes a team already struggling with an with an identity crisis back to the brink of the dreaded slippery slope.
The only thing that saved this from being totally bereft of redeeming social value for the Planet Orange populace was a brilliant 32-point solo by Leandro Barbosa. His 14-point second period burst kept the Suns in the game at a time when they were having trouble staying in the building, and his five-point microburst in a 23-second span brought the Suns back within four points with 4:48 to go.
As for defense, all you need to know is that the Bulls came in averaging 99.4 points game, yet were able to score almost at will. When they weren’t making wide open jumpers, they were harvesting 17 second-chance points off offensive rebounding that at times seemed almost unchallenged.
Just so you won’t think I’m a total curmudgeon, it must be duly noted that if you didn’t care who won, this was a pretty good show the Bulls put on. Rookie sensation Derrick Rose more than lived up to advance notice. He not only scored 26 points, but also had as many rebounds (6) as Amare Stoudemire. And Rose’s starting backcourt mate, Ben Gordon, put on quite a shooting exhibition, hitting on 5 of 7 threes and also scoring 26 points. And their backcourt backups, Kirk Hinrich and Thabo Sefolosha combined for 26 more.
And Rose, by the way, is not just about stats. This kid has it all—speed, quickness, court sense, shooting, athleticism, budding court sense, flair. You name it, he’s got it.
The bottom line: I never thought back in October I’d be saying this, but Monday night’s game against the woeful Sacramento Kings is now a MUST win (and alas, by no means an absolute lock).