Suns Hitting Their Stride

The high-powered Phoenix Suns are back at full strength and appear to have found their stride. That's not good news for the struggling Chicago Bulls, who begin a six-game road trip at Phoenix on Thursday.

Oddsmakers from Bodog have made Phoenix -8 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 201 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 68% of bets for this game have been placed on Phoenix -8 (View NBA Bet Percentages).

The Suns (6-2) shot a season-high 56.2 percent from the floor in Tuesday's 113-102 victory over New York, and are averaging 108.3 points during their season-high three-game winning streak.

Phoenix had four starters with at least 21 points and led by as many as 21 in the fourth quarter on Tuesday, but still failed to satisfy coach Mike D'Antoni.

"I'm not real impressed,'' D'Antoni said. "We're OK. We should have had more energy. We should have played harder, and the crowd's worse than we are. I mean, they're deader than we are.''

Shawn Marion and Leandro Barbosa each scored 23 points against the Knicks, while Grant Hill finished with 21 - his most in eight games with Phoenix. Amare Stoudemire had his best night since undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery six weeks ago, with 26 points and 12 rebounds.

Stoudemire had missed three games with swelling in his right knee - caused by the surgery - but scored 12 points in the first quarter of his third game back.

"Since I've been back, that's definitely the strongest that I've felt,'' said Stoudemire, who totaled 50 points and 28 rebounds in Phoenix's two games against Chicago last season. "It's just a matter of improving, try to get more workouts in and try to get in better shape slowly but surely.''

The Suns split last season's series with the Bulls, but have won five of the last six meetings.

Chicago snapped an eight-game losing streak in Phoenix with a 116-103 won on Feb. 11, when the Suns played without two-time MVP Steve Nash.

The Bulls (1-5) are coming off their worst game of the season, a 101-71 home loss to Toronto on Saturday.

"That is not the effort we wanted going into Phoenix," said Chicago coach Scott Skiles, whose club is 0-2 on the road.

The Bulls have struggled mightily on their annual November trip - which occurs when the circus comes to the United Center - compiling a 5-47 record since Michael Jordan left the team in 1998.

Regardless of where they've played this season, the Bulls have been hurt by poor shooting. They are one of the worst offensive teams in the league so far in 2007-08, averaging only 86.5 points per game while connecting on just 38.1 percent of their shots from the field.

"The only thing you can do in these moments is work the problem," Skiles said. "We have to somehow get back to basics."

Leading scorer Ben Gordon is averaging just 14.3 points and shooting 32.1 percent in his last four games after averaging 26 points in the first two games of the season. Gordon played well against the Suns last season, though, scoring 68 points over the two matchups.

By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us

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