Bulls look to slow down red-hot Suns tonight on CSN

Bulls look to slow down red-hot Suns tonight on CSN
February 4, 2014, 9:45 am
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Mark Strotman

Goran Dragic is playing like an All-Star, even if he may not wind up playing in the exhibition in two weeks in New Orleans. The Suns point guard was not one of the seven players named as a reserve for the Western Conference team, and he’ll look to continue his hot streak of play tonight as the Bulls travel to Phoenix on CSN. Coverage begins at 7:30 with Bulls Pregame Live.

Goran Dragic may still be named to the Western Conference All-Star team if starter Kobe Bryant (knee surgery) is unable to play in the exhibition, but for now the Suns point guard is taking out his “snub” on the rest of the NBA as one of the league’s hottest players.

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After the reserves were announced last Thursday, Dragic proceeded to average 26.8 points, 6.0 assists and 4.0 rebounds that week to earn Western Conference Player of the Week honors. It was simply another chapter to Dragic’s storybook season that has the Suns staring at a potential playoff berth for the first time since 2009-10. Entering Tuesday the Suns, at 29-18, are sixth in the ultra-competitive. West.

Much of that credit goes to Dragic, the 27-year-old Yugoslavian putting up career-bests in points (20.0), field-goal percentage (50.5 percent), rebounds (3.5) and a host of other statistics that have Phoenix staying afloat without backcourt mate Eric Bledsoe, out since Jan. 30 with a torn meniscus.

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They enter tonight’s tilt against the Bulls having won seven of their last eight, including a pair of wins over the defensive-minded Pacers. In that span, Dragic is averaging 22.1 points on an insane 58 percent from the field, 6.4 assists and 1.4 steals. He’s taken his game to a new level under first year head coach Jeff Hornacek, and it’s paying off in a big way.

The last two times these teams squared off, it appeared the Suns would come away with an easy victory. Less than 24 hours before tip, the Bulls had traded away leading scorer and veteran Luol Deng to the Cavaliers. But an emotionally charged Bulls team held the high-octane Suns offense to just 87 points in a five-point win. The Suns certainly will want revenge for that game, as well as wanting to earn a season-best sixth straight win.

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The Bulls scored just 70 points last night against a Kings team in a 99-70 loss, and that won’t be nearly enough tonight, either. The Suns are averaging 104.9 points per game, and have averaged 114.3 points in their last four outings (all wins).

See if the Bulls can slow down Dragic again as they begin a three-game West Coast road trip against the surprising Suns. It’s all happening on Comcast SportsNet, beginning at 7:30 with Pregame Live. Stayed tuned after for Postgame Live, and stay up-to-date with social media trends on Bulls Pulse, using #BullsTalk on Twitter to join the conversation.