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Game 16: Bulls 118, Suns 97

18 Jan 2012

Three Stars
1. Carlos Boozer: 31 points (.694 TS%), 6 rebounds, 2 steals
2. C.J. Watson: 23 points (.836 TS%), 4 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals
3. Joakim Noah: 13 points (.597 TS%), 12 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal

We remember the “Seven Seconds or Less” Suns as bad defensive teams, but they were championship contenders because they actually managed to be mediocre most of the time.

This current bunch? Now that’s a bad defensive team. This is the fourth straight season Phoenix hasn’t stopped anyone, and the Bulls took full advantage, even with Derrick Rose resting The Toe again.

Chicago assisted on two-thirds of its baskets (31 of 47), well above the league average of 57%, and Carlos Boozer was the primary beneficiary. With opposing bigs Marcin Gortat and Robin Lopez and Markieff Morris inexplicably giving him tons of space defensively, Booz cruised to 31 points — surpassing his season high of 23 with 26 points by halftime.

Boozer hit 8 of 12 shots from his preferred range of 10-23 feet, but he also ventured in closer with the Phoenix defenders posing little threat in the paint: 3-of-4 from 3-9 feet and 3-of-5 at the rim.

Those nine shots were the most Boozer has taken inside 9 feet all season.

Rip Hamilton played 21 minutes in his first game in nearly two weeks, but the backcourt star in Rose’s absence was C.J. Watson, proving again how fortunate the Bulls are to have him in reserve. On the “he could start for most teams” scale, he rates at least as high as Taj Gibson or Omer Asik.

And now we sleep for two days!

Box Score

Record: 13-3, first in the Eastern Conference
Next:
 Friday 1/20 at Cleveland, 6:30 CT

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