Barbosa's last-second 3-pointer helps Suns edge BullsJan 3, 2007 - 6:47 AM CHICAGO (Ticker) -- Leandro Barbosa knocked the wind out of Ben Gordon and the Chicago Bulls.
Barbosa scored 20 points, including a 3-pointer with less than two seconds remaining, as the Phoenix Suns posted a 97-96 victory over the Chicago Bulls.
After Gordon made two free throws to give the Bulls a 96-94 lead with five seconds remaining, Boris Diaw took the inbounds pass and briefly faked the ball to Steve Nash before finding Barbosa, who nailed a shot from the top of the 3-point arc just over the outstretched hand of Gordon with 1.5 seconds left to give the Suns a one-point advantage.
"I was just thinking about making the shot, the coach put a lot of confidence in me and I made the shot," Barbosa said. "Nash did a great job of giving me room to shoot the ball, Boris made a nice pass to me and I just shot the ball."
"It's as simple as it gets, it relies on us falling for a fake in the paint and we did," Bulls coach Scott Skiles said. "We went inside the 3-point line instead of staying outside. That is a mistake you can not make there."
Gordon's 3-pointer at the buzzer missed for Chicago, which has lost five straight times to Phoenix.
Amare Stoudemire scored 24 points and grabbed a season-high 18 rebounds and Shawn Marion added 22 points for Phoenix, which improved to 13-1 vs. the Eastern Conference, including 8-0 on the road.
"You watch Stoudemire now and his energy is good in every way, he has no dead spots in his game," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said. "He is tracking the ball, going for offensive rebounds and moving people around. He is back to where he is dominating."
"I feel great physically but I have some room for improvement," Stoudemire added. "Right now we are improving as a team and that is all that matters."
Nash had 11 points and 13 assists and Raja Bell scored 10 before fouling out after repeatedly being burned on the defensive side by Gordon, who posted a career-high 41 points.
Barbosa made 6-of-14 shots for the Suns, who shot just 41 percent (36-of-87) from the field, including 7-of-23 from 3-point range.
Gordon finished 13-of-25 from the floor and 13-of-14 from the stripe for Chicago, which received 19 points from Luol Deng and 11 points and 12 rebounds from Andres Nocioni.
"Yes, the Suns are good," Gordon said. "Their not 22-8 for no reason. They are a dynamic offensive team and they just showed what they can do in pressure situations."
The Bulls shot 48 percent (37-of-77) from the field, but were outscored, 34-23, in the fourth quarter, absorbing just their third loss in 18 games at the United Center.
"We put up some good numbers on the stat sheet, but no one really stepped up offensively for us except Gordon," Skiles said. "In the first half we had a nice rhythm going and our defense was keeping us in it. The second half was a different story."
CHICAGO 96 FINAL
Jan 2 10:55 PM
CHICAGO 73 END, 3RD QTR
Jan 2 10:16 PM
CHICAGO 55 0:00 LEFT, 2ND QTR
Jan 2 9:36 PM
CHICAGO 27 END, 1ST QTR
Jan 2 9:03 PM
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