The Bulls home woes continue after a disappointing 97-81loss to the Phoenix Suns, who were 2-17 on the road and losers of 11 of their last 12 and 12 straight road losses entering the game.
The Suns controlled the game the entire second half, increasing their lead to as many as 19 in the final period.
The Bulls are now 10-10 at home this season.
Carlos Boozer led the team with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Luol Deng added 13 and Joakim Noah finished with 10 points and 13 rebounds.
Perhaps the most important number was the four techincals picked up by Deng, Boozer, Nate Robinson and coach Tom Thibodeau that indicated how frustrating a showing this was.
“Frustration, sometimes leads to – you think you’re getting fouled and (the officials) are missing it – it takes your concentration away from what you’re supposed to be doing,” Thibodeau said. “We have to handle that part better. I think just understanding how quick things can change – you go from winning a game on the road to coming home the next night and you have to get ready all over again. You have to bring that intensity to the game from the start.”
After shooting 57 percent in Friday’s 108-101 win over New York, the Bulls managed only 36 percent against the Suns. Their flatness on offense only compounded the fact that they couldn’t slow the Suns down as they allowed them to shoot 49 percent.
The Suns were led by 22 points by Luis Scola and 20 points by Michael Beasley in 20 minutes.
“Every team in this league is extremely talented from top to bottom,” Thibodeau said. “It’s your willingness to make that commitment for each other, understanding readiness to play; how important the first quarter is. It’s easy in this league to get sidetracked and distracted.There are a million opportunities for an excuse, whatever it might be.
“I think when you have the right type of commitment that’s necessary to win, you don’t allow that stuff to get in the way,” he continued. “You’re ready whenever they’re throwing the ball up. If they say we’re playing midnight, on the roof, you should be saying ‘let’s get the ladders.’”
The Bulls were 62-12 at home in the Thibodeau era, but have suffered from lulls this season against opponents with losing records.
“We just have to play better in th(ese) types of games,” Deng said. “At the beginning of the year, it was plying the whole 48 minutes. I think we’re getting better at that now. I think it’s games like this we have to get up for.”
While the cure for the struggles at home might seem as simple as playing harder, no one seems to be able to a finger on one definitive issue to explain what’s going on. But as coach and player have attested to, it’s going to take some work to correct it from being an ongoing issue.
“We’re 10-10 at home, that’s not very good, it’s average,” Noah said. “Obviously, we’re going on the road, beating some of the best teams and coming home, against lower teams and not competing. We have to fix it and it’s definitely something that’s going to take a lot of work.”