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Reply To: NBA • Monday Service Plays • 12/7/15

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Preview: Phoenix At Chicago

When: 8:00 PM ET, Monday, December 7, 2015

Where: United Center, Chicago, Illinois

The Chicago Bulls will try to get their struggling offense going against one of the league’s worst defensive teams as they host the Phoenix Suns on Monday night. The Bulls stood 20th in the league in scoring entering Sunday and managed 100 points once in their last eight contests after dropping a 102-96 decision against Charlotte on Saturday.

“We can’t bank on the fact that we have a good record right now (11-6),” Chicago center Pau Gasol told ESPN.com. “We have to be really demanding of ourselves and look ourselves in the mirror and know that we have room for improvement.” The Bulls are 2-1 on their four-game homestand and 7-3 over the last 10 contests as they try to take advantage of the Suns, who have dropped four in a row and eight of nine. Phoenix coughed up a lead in the fourth quarter to lose 95-93 on Jeff Green’s buzzer-beating dunk at Memphis on Sunday. Guard Eric Bledsoe scored 23 and has at least 20 in 13 of his last 15 games.

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

ABOUT THE SUNS (8-13): Phoenix is having serious problems closing out games after getting outscored 115-87 combined in the fourth quarter during the last four contests. The Suns, who are among the league leaders in 3-point shooting, converted just 9-of-31 from beyond the arc against Memphis. Bledsoe (22.2) and Brandon Knight (21.4) are one of the top-scoring backcourt duos in the league, but one of their other scoring weapons, Markieff Morris (12.1), has been bothered by a knee injury.

ABOUT THE BULLS (11-6): Derrick Rose has continued his offensive struggles by shooting 31 percent from the field over the last five games and averaging 13.8 points in that span. “It’s kind of exciting to see that we’re winning games and I still didn’t even reach my full potential yet,” Rose told ESPN.com. Jimmy Butler, who scored 25 on Saturday, leads the team (20.5) while Gasol is contributing 14.4 points and 10.8 rebounds per contest as the Bulls average 98.7 points – two less than last season.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Chicago F Nikola Mirotic suffered a concussion in the win over Denver on Wednesday, but returned to score seven points in 27 minutes three days later.

2. Phoenix F Jon Leuer has taken advantage of extra playing time of late to average 14.3 points the last three games.

3. The Bulls won 103-97 at Phoenix on Nov. 18 for their seventh victory in the last nine meetings versus the Suns.

PREDICTION: Bulls 106, Suns 98