Bulls 122 - 111 Suns
  for this game

Gordon, Rose help Bulls top Suns

Feb 1, 2009 - 6:49 AM PHOENIX (Ticker) -- Ben Gordon and Derrick Rose scored 26 points apiece as the Chicago Bulls reached a season high in points with Saturday's 122-111 victory over the Phoenix Suns.

Luol Deng added 17 points and 10 rebounds and Kirk Hinrich scored 15 points off the bench for the Bulls, who improved to 3-1 on their seven-game road trip.

"The big thing is you can't turn the basketball over against Phoenix or they make you pay for it," Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said. "We kept our turnovers under control. We had good ball movement and our execution was pretty good."

The Suns drew close in the fourth quarter, when Leandro Barbosa scored five straight points, but Gordon knocked down a 3-pointer with 3:54 remaining. Phoenix did not threaten again.

"Those are big," Gordon said of his fourth-quarter shots. "We need those shots from whoever they come from. When they were making their run that shot kept them off a bit longer.

"It seems like we're playing with a lot of confidence. We are making better decisions and getting shots when we needed them. It has been so long since we won three games in a row."

Deng and Thabo Sefolosha scored five points each in the final 3:09 as Chicago made its final five field-goal attempts and went 11-of-11 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter.

Barbosa kept it close, pouring in 32 points off the bench for the Suns, who fell to 7-8 in January - marking the franchise's first sub-.500 month since April 2004.

"We didn't play very well," Phoenix point guard Steve Nash said. "We didn't deserve it. Our level hasn't been that great lately so I don't know if we are playing down to anyone's level. We have to prove to ourselves that we are a good team again. Tonight was a bad performance.

"We don't have a great spirit, we are not very positive and I think right now the sum is not as good as the parts. Instead of fighting it seems like we really don't believe in what we are doing."

The Bulls have won a season-high three straight after a season-worst, five-game losing streak and swept the season series with Phoenix for the first time since the 1996-97 campaign, when Michael Jordan led the team.

"When we lost those five in a row, we were in games ... it is not like we were getting blown out," Gordon said. "We just need to find a way to win down the stretch. That is the way we drew confidence. We were playing well enough to win."

Phoenix shot 53 percent (37-of-70) from the field but managed only 70 attempts to Chicago's 94 and was outrebounded, 42-35.

"We allowed those guys to keep building up confidence, confidence and confidence," Suns coach Terry Porter said. "We talked about coming out early and setting the tone and not letting them get to a rhythm. When we did make stops, they got offensive rebounds."

Rose, who fell one point short of his career high, kept the Bulls in the game with 14 points, six rebounds and four assists in the first half. Andres Nocioni added nine points before the break to help Chicago grab a 62-59 edge at the break.

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