National Basketball Association
Preview
Phoenix at Chicago
When: 8:00 PM ET, Friday, February 24, 2017
Where: United Center, Chicago, Illinois

The Chicago Bulls were involved in some wild trade rumors in the days leading up to the NBA's Thursday deadline but ended up hanging onto All-Star swingman Jimmy Butler and instead sent small forward Doug McDermott and starting power forward Taj Gibson to Oklahoma City. The Phoenix Suns, who visit the Bulls on Friday, decided to stick with their core at the deadline as well and will bring Eric Bledsoe, Devin Booker and company on the three-game road trip.

Chicago was one of the more difficult teams on which to get an accurate reading over the first 57 games and followed up three losses by an average of 25.7 points on the road with home wins over Eastern Conference powers Toronto and Boston prior to the break. Despite the up-and-down performance thus far, the Bulls enter the stretch drive in seventh place in the East and just one game behind the sixth-place Indiana Pacers. The Suns, who trounced Chicago 115-97 at home on Feb. 10, are much further from contention and own the fewest wins in the Western Conference. The victory over the Bulls marked the only time Phoenix, which is 29th in the NBA in scoring defense, held a team under 100 points in the last 20 contests.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN Arizona (Phoenix), WGN (Chicago)

ABOUT THE SUNS (18-39): Bledsoe capped off the first 57 games with a triple-double (25 points, 13 assists, 10 rebounds) in a 137-101 win over the Los Angeles Lakers prior to the break and went 18-of-36 from the field in the final two games after battling through a shooting slump earlier in February. The 20-year-old Booker scored 17 points in the Rising Stars Game and competed in the skills challenge during All-Star weekend, and is looking like a player who can make annual appearances during All-Star weekend. Booker is averaging 21.1 points and scored at least 20 points in 20 of the last 22 games before the break.

ABOUT THE BULLS (28-29):
Butler missed four of five games with a heel injury but returned for the wins over Toronto and Boston, and buried the game-winning jumper in the 104-103 triumph over the Celtics. The 27-year-old is intent on leading his team to the postseason and needs to keep the team focused on the Suns with a key trip to Cleveland looming on Saturday. "We’re home. We want to start on the right foot," Butler told the team's website. "Everyone has had rest now, but come in ready to go, locked in. The season isn’t over yet. You can’t really say it hasn’t been challenging. We can be in the playoffs and go from there. We have a big month ahead of us."

BUZZER BEATERS

1. The Bulls received PG Cameron Payne, C Joffrey Lauvergne and SF Anthony Morrow from the Thunder.

2. The Suns sent veteran PF P.J. Tucker to Toronto in exchange for C Jared Sullinger and a pair of second-round draft picks.

3. Phoenix took the last two meetings, including a 103-101 win at Chicago last season.

PREDICTION: Bulls 112, Suns 101
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div Conf
Phoenix 18-39 W1 10-18 8-21 1-4 17-35 3-8 7-32
Chicago 28-29 W2 17-11 11-18 1-3 27-26 5-6 19-16
Last Meeting
Phoenix Chicago
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
2/10/17 CHI 97 PHO 115 115 43 50.5 97 41 43.0
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Phoenix D. Booker 27 52.6 5
Chicago J. Butler 20 37.5 8
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Phoenix A. Williams 11 5 6
Chicago R. Lopez 7 5 2
Assists Player  
Phoenix E. Bledsoe 8
Chicago J. Butler 6
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Phoenix D. Booker 1282 42.7 257
Chicago J. Butler 1312 44.6 458
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Phoenix T. Chandler 557 161 396
Chicago R. Lopez 432 217 215
Assists Player  
Phoenix E. Bledsoe 379
Chicago R. Rondo 346
Quickchart Matchup
Phoenix Phoenix Off vs  Chicago Chicago Defense
Phoenix Off vs Chicago - Points For 106.9 Points For
Phoenix Off vs Chicago - Points Against 102.8 Points Against
Phoenix - FG% 44.6 FG%
Chicago - FG% 46.1 FG%
Phoenix - Reb 44.6 Reb
Chicago - Reb 42.4 Reb
Chicago Chicago Off vs  Phoenix Phoenix Defense
Chicago Off vs Phoenix - Points For 102.1 Points For
Chicago Off vs Phoenix - Points Against 112.4 Points Against
Chicago - FG% 44.0 FG%
Phoenix - FG% 47.1 FG%
Chicago - Reb 46.5 Reb
Phoenix - Reb 43.1 Reb