Bulls get a painful lesson in what a real playoff team should look like

With Kevin Durant now in the mix, the new-look Suns showed the Bulls just how much firepower they have. The wrong time for another loss, as the Bulls were now two games out of a play-in spot.

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Kevin Durant

Despite Suns coach Monty Williams insisting the Bulls were building into a playoff team, the home team actually met a real playoff team on Friday. It didn’t end well as Kevin Durant & Co. were just way too much for the Bulls to handle.

Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

Monty Williams has been in the coaching game since 2005.

If he claims there’s something special building with this Bulls roster, you don’t have to buy what he’s selling, but it’s at least worth a listen.

“When you watch the film it all lines up,’’ the Phoenix coach said on Friday. “They’re physical, they have a great weakside presence, they are defenders on the floor, they put their hands on you, and then you talk about the guys that can score the ball. … They’re just a team that seems to be put together for the playoffs even though many may differ from that opinion based on whatever. But I see a team that’s starting to play play-off basketball.’’

For some spurts against the Suns at the United Center, they did just that.

But what Williams left out was it’s also a team that’s very flawed. That starts in the consistency department on both ends of the floor.

And a real playoff team like the Suns? They exposed every one of them.

Thanks to 35 points from Devin Booker, the new-look Suns beat the Bulls 125-104. A loss that again stung, considering they slipped two games out of a play-in spot with Toronto and Washington both idle.

Time is not on the side of the Bulls at 29-35.

“We got stagnant here and there, couldn’t catch a rhythm, couldn’t slow them down,’’ Bulls veteran DeMar DeRozan said of the latest loss. “We let it slip away.’’

Meanwhile, Phoenix has all the makings of a threat to come out of the Western Conference with Kevin Durant joining Chris Paul and Booker.

The Bulls’ Billy Donovan coached both Durant and Paul separately in Oklahoma City, and had a pretty good idea of what was coming.

“I think it will be great,’’ Donovan said of the duo. “Both guys are incredibly detailed as far as their routine and commitment in terms of what goes into winning.’’

DeRozan agreed.

“It’s scary,’’ he said. “A triple threat [with Durant, Booker and Paul]. Once they catch a rhythm, they’re definitely going to be dangerous.’’

Phoenix wasted no time showing that, as the monster from the Valley of the Sun appeared to be as good as advertised right from the opening tip.

Despite it only being the second game Durant was playing with his new team, he looked right at home, scoring five quick points and handing out two assists, building an eight-point lead in just over seven minutes of work.

Phoenix (35-29) closed out that opening stanza up 11, and shooting just under 60% from the field, including 6-for-13 from three-point range.

Then it flipped, thanks to Zach LaVine and the Bulls stingy defense finally showing up.

The two-time All-Star scored 12 points in that second, while Phoenix spent most of the time trying to escape from the handcuffs of Alex Caruso and Patrick Beverley. In closing out the Suns on a 16-1 run, the Bulls took a four-point lead into the halftime locker room, while Phoenix spent 12 minutes in mud, scoring just 20 points on 7-for-19 shooting.

A moment to embrace, and one that wouldn’t last that long.

Thanks to Booker, Phoenix immediately took control in the third, outscoring the Bulls 34-21.

At that point it came down to firepower, and it was a cannon against a pop gun. The Bulls didn’t stand a chance.

While the Bulls continued to try and search out some way to generate three-pointers and offensive consistency, Phoenix had no problems showing them what that looked like, outscoring them 31-19 in the fourth.

The final telltale numbers? The Bulls went 7-for-23 (30.4%) from three-point range, while the Suns finished 20-of-47 (42.6%).

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