The Chicago Bulls are getting so much love now from the NBA media that they've gone from early season darling to late season favorite. With the Celtics reeling after the Kendrick Perkins trade and the Magic and Heat sporting seriously flawed rosters, Derrick Rose's team very well could come out of the East and put Chicago back into the NBA Finals.
For the Phoenix Suns, this game is all about heart and pride and no small amount of self-interest. Alvin Gentry and several players were unhappy with the poor effort displayed in Sunday's blowout loss to the San Antonio Spurs and the coach made it clear that effort isn't optional.
"We have to have all our guys playing hard. It can't be just a selective few. The only thing I am obligated to do is to have the team prepared to play, and the only thing they are obligated to do is compete hard," Gentry told the Arizona Republic.
There's a few guys on this team who will, or will not, be back next year based on what kind of toughness they show over these final few games. We're looking at you Aaron Brooks, Robin Lopez and Hakim Warrick.
Steve Nash is back with the team and feeling better. Now the the Suns have been officially eliminated from playoff contention, we probably won't see him or Grant Hill played more than 25 or possibly 30 minutes. Nash proclaimed his health status in this bitingly sarcastic tweet:
Guys, I'm feeling better this morning. I should feel great by the playoffs!!
For the Bulls, center Joakim Noah (andkle) is expected to play after missing a week and play and practice.
The game tips at 5:00 p.m. local time on My45 and will be broadcast on Sports 620 radio. Fans can follow along during the game with other Suns fans at the live game thread at Bright Side of the Sun.