Phoenix Suns vs. Chicago Bulls: C.J. Watson, Richard Hamilton Spark Bulls' Win

Bob BajekAnalyst IIIJanuary 18, 2012

The Chicago Bulls have been waiting quite some time to get Richard Hamilton and C.J. Watson healthy again, and the two guards made that wait worthwhile in a 118-97 smacking of the Phoenix Suns Tuesday night.

Most impressive about Watson's and Hamilton's performance against Phoenix was their display of how effective the Bulls could be even without their star Derrick Rose, who's missing more time with a turf toe injury on his left big toe.

On Monday, the Bulls were embarrassed by the Memphis Grizzlies in a 102-86 drubbing as Rose sat out. According to the Chicago Tribune's Steve Rosenbloom, the Bulls looked listless on the court and couldn't find any offensive rhythm until it was too late.

But what difference having Watson and Hamilton on the court made.

Watson, who has been sidelined with a left elbow dislocation since January 1, played his first game off the bench against the Grizzlies and buried 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting.

Watson played even better against the Suns by torching them for 23 points, five assists and four rebounds on 8-of-12 shooting.

The backup point guard was able to spread the floor and be a good distributor of the ball against the Suns. Watson was able to find Hamilton and power forward Carlos Boozer for open shots, while not turning over the ball once.

Even though John Lucas III did a great job filling in as the primary backup with Watson out, the fourth-year veteran from Tennessee showed how dynamic he is on the court.

Meanwhile, Hamilton had missed eight straight games since re-aggravating his left groin. The Bulls offense has struggled without Hamilton in the lineup, mustering 90.4 points a game.

Hamilton made his presence felt right away against the Suns by spreading the floor with his sure jumper, distributing the ball well without any turnovers. He had 11 points and six assists on 5-of-11 shooting.

In the six games Hamilton has played, the Bulls have averaged 102.3 points a game.

Hamilton brings a swagger at guard the Bulls lacked during his absence. He plays well off the ball and knows how to get his teammates involved. With Hamilton on the court, the Bulls are definitely a better team.

Rose's left toe is still bothering him, but the Bulls should continue sitting their star player until he is properly healed. They need him to be fully ready to go come playoff time.

Watson and Hamilton are fully capable of holding down the fort until D-Rose is ready to ball again. 

The Bulls' upcoming opponents are the Cleveland Cavaliers, Charlotte Bobcats and New Jersey Nets, all squads Rose's teammates could defeat without him.

Accomplishing that should be no problem, now that the cavalry duo of Watson and Hamilton has finally arrived.

Bob Bajek is a Featured Columnist for the Chicago Bulls. He is also a freelance reporter, and can be followed on and Twitter.