East-leading Bulls hold off SunsApr 6, 2011 - 5:23 AM Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Derrick Rose scored 19 points and helped the Chicago Bulls hang on for a 97-94 victory over the Phoenix Suns at United Center.
Luol Deng added 18 points for the Eastern Conference-leading Bulls, who have won four in a row and eight of nine. They hold a three-game lead over Boston, which beat Philadelphia earlier Tuesday, and idle Miami.
"A win is a win, but we're not moving in the right direction if we want to do something special," Rose said.
The Bulls and Celtics square off Thursday in Chicago.
Vince Carter had 23 points off the bench to lead the Suns, who have dropped six of seven.
The Bulls led by as many as 22, but the Suns scored the final five points of the third quarter to get within 81-70. They continued to chip away at Chicago's lead by opening the fourth with two Aaron Brooks free throws.
With 7:03 left, Carter drained a three-pointer as he was fouled, then made the free throw to bring the Suns within 89-85. After a two-minute scoreless stretch, Grant Hill drove for a layup to make it a two-point game.
Carlos Boozer followed with a layup for Chicago, the first of several key shots that prevented Phoenix from tying the game.
Carter's tip-in made it a 91-89 contest with 4:21 to go, and after neither team scored for about two and a half minutes, the Bulls got a three-point play from Rose.
Channing Frye then quickly followed with a three-pointer to make it 94-92, but Rose's jumper with 33.2 seconds remaining restored a two-possession edge.
Carter drove for a layup at the other end, and Kyle Korver sank only 1-of-2 free throws with 13.1 left to give the Suns a chance to tie. However, Marcin Gortat missed a jumper with only a few seconds remaining.
The Bulls got to the line 20 times in the first half, making 15 on their way to a 53-40 lead at the break. Back-to-back threes from Rose and Keith Bogans gave Chicago a 67-45 advantage nearly four minutes into the third quarter.
"We have to play the way we did in the second half when the game is even and not when we're 22 down," Suns head coach Alvin Gentry said.
Boozer finished with 12 points, nine boards and seven assists for the Bulls...Hill and Frye both scored 13 for Phoenix, while Steve Nash returned from a two-game absence to hand out 16 assists...Chicago swept the two-game season series.
- PHOENIX: 94
Apr 5 10:31 PM
- PHOENIX: 70
End of 3rd
Apr 5 9:54 PM
- PHOENIX: 40
Apr 5 9:12 PM
- PHOENIX: 24
End of 1st
Apr 5 8:39 PM
- PHOENIX: 0
1st Quarter - 12:00
Apr 5 8:12 PM
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