for this game

Suns conclude four-game road trip, down shorthanded Bulls

Jan 27, 2008 - 10:10 PM By Rory Spears PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

CHICAGO (Ticker) - The Phoenix Suns ended their four-game road trip just they way they wanted to.

Capitalizing on a fourth-quarter run, the Suns pulled away for an 88-77 victory over the shorthanded Chicago Bulls on Sunday.

Amare Stoudemire scored 24 points and Shawn Marion collected 15 and 11 rebounds for Phoenix, which completed a four-game, six-day tour of the Midwest with a 3-1 record.

"We had trouble getting into a rhythm on offense," Suns point guard Steve Nash said. "I think we had some early good looks that we didnt knock down. This is a good win for us and a great way to end the road trip."

The finale of the trip was made a bit easier since the Bulls played without Luol Deng and Ben Gordon - their top-two scorers.

"We were searching for some offense out there," Bulls interim coach Jim Boylan said. "We had some good opportunites and we couldn't convert."

"It's very tough playing in this league when you are missing players," Bulls forward Joe Smith said. "You can call this the 'No Pity League'; (if there is) a positive, (it is) that we are still not far out of a playoff spot."

After Chicago's Tyrus Thomas converted a layup with 9:40 remaining, the Suns took control with a 12-0 surge over the next 4:27 to build a double-digit lead. The burst featured eight consecutive points from Leandro Barbosa.

"We finally got a run with some steals and they hit a drought," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said. "Barbosa hit a couple threes and those were big. At that point, Chicago was down and that's because they (were missing) 50 points without Deng and Gordon. That catches up with you after a while."

The Suns were just 5-of-25 from the arc after hitting 17 3-pointers on Friday against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

"It's hard to get ready for these early games," Stoudemire said. "Finally, late in the game, we were able to get it going and knock some shots down."

Andres Nocioni ended the scoreless stretch with a deep 3-pointer, but the Bulls could get no closer than nine points the remainder of the way.

Nash, who started slowly, finished with 14 points. He failed to score until midway through the second quarter.

Kirk Hinrich scored 31 points - his second 30-point performance in less than a week - and Thabo Sefolosha added 10 for the Bulls, who have lost 14 of their last 18 meetings with the Suns, including five in a row at the United Center.

"Phoenix is obviously a good team," Hinrich said. "I thought we were respectable on defense, (but) we are not making enough plays on offense."

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