The Phoenix Suns have two main concerns when they play the Chicago Bulls -- push the tempo and rebound the basketball. The Bulls like to play slow and they are very good on the boards. Head coach Alvin Gentry was very clear about that in his pregame meeting with the press.
"We have to match their energy and intensity level," said Gentry, noting the way that Joakim Noah, Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer play.
Luckily, the Suns have been able to rebound better. They were only outrebounded by three by the Denver Nuggets, and they entered the game as the league's best rebounding team. How will the Suns do that against Bulls, "who bang the boards pretty good?"
The easy answer would be to box out opposing players, but Gentry noted in the two games that were on the TVs in his office "I don't see anyone blocking out."
"No one blocks out," he continued. "We keep talking about that with our guys, but watching these games, I haven't seen one person block out yet. But I think if you're going to do that you need size and you've got to be very athletic."
Phoenix knows it needs to push the tempo. The goal is 100 points. Chicago has a very hard time winning games when their opponents score at least 100 points in a game.
Jermaine O'Neal got back in town Wednesday afternoon and will be active, but how much he ill play will yet be determined.
For the Bulls, the get back Kirk Hinrich, who took his place in the starting lineup for Chicago.