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Final Score: Bulls shoot past Phoenix Suns, 103-97

The Bulls made all the big shots and the Suns just couldn't. They lose a close one on the road in Phoenix.

Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

After fighting back to an 88-87 lead in the fourth quarter with 5 minutes left, the Suns folded under the Bulls shot-making. Jimmy Butler made three consecutive big shots to give the Bulls a lead they didn't give back.

Brandon Knight and Eric Bledsoe had good games again, combining for 44 points, 11 assists and 7 rebounds.

But Jimmy Butler's 32 points, and a raucous visiting Bulls crowd, led the Bulls to a 103-97 win.

First half

The Chicago Bulls opened the game making a ton of shots, making 7 of 9 mostly jumpers. The Suns played good D, just can't stop every shot.

The Suns, for their part, looked good in the opening minutes except that Markieff Morris still looks like he's trying to find his rhythm on offense when he gets the ball. He missed his first two shots. He wasn't the only one though - the Suns shot only 40% to open the game as the Bulls stoked themselves to a 16-9 lead.

The Bulls kept it up and shot 72% for the first quarter - mostly on jumpers the whole way - and the Suns shot only 36%.

Suns down 31-18 after one.

Got a bit worse in the second quarter despite the second unit trying to up the intensity. They just couldn't buy a bucket while the Bulls kept scoring.

With 8:51 left in the half, the Suns were shooting 32%, just 3-7 on free throws, and 2-10 on threes.


Brandon Knight kept the Suns alive in the first half with 13 of their first 31 points.

Finally, the Suns started showing some life mid-second quarter putting up some real good effort on D. Once the Bulls started missing, the Suns got some run-outs and early offense to pull back into the game.

The Suns cut the Bulls' lead to 6 with 3 minutes left and tried to close out the quarter tough. The Suns closed it to 4 before Kirk Hinrich made just his second three pointer of the season on an extreme catch and shoot with the shot clock winding down on the Bulls.

A Taj Gibson tip-in got them back to 6 after Bledsoe answered Hinrich.

53-47 at half.

Good of the Suns to turn an awful first 1.5 quarters into something palatable for the second half.

Second half

The Suns came out strong and pulled to within one before the Bulls made a few consecutive shots and suddenly the Bulls were up 7 again.

The key to the Bulls run was, of course, Kirk Hinrich. He made consecutive shots around a Jimmy Butler 22-foot banker. Nikola Mirotic made a jumper to complete the Bulls 9-2 run.

The Suns worked their butts off in the third quarter, including a sequence of 4 or 5 offensive rebounds on one possession to get the bucket, but could not get up on the Bulls because they just couldn't make buckets.

With 2:57 left in the third, the Suns were still down 7 because the Suns were still just shooting 38% on the game.

Then Booker hit a three and Teletovic hit a three and Price got a steal/layup and the game was momentarily tied. Then Aaron Brooks made a line-drive banker to get the lead back.

The Suns finally took the lead on a Booker three. His second in two tries. But then the Bulls did what they've done all night and made buckets to take the lead back. Jimmy Butler scored 5 points posting up Booker (two fouls) on next two possessions.

The Suns fought back though, just through grit because you can't call what they were playing "pretty". Except another Knight ankle-breaker, this time on Taj Gibson.

They finally took the lead again on Bledsoe free throws, but Paul Gasol answered with a driving dunk the next time down. No separation, once again.

Bulls by 4 after a Hinrich 3P, 4:00 left.

Then up 6 with 2 and a half left when Knight floater rims out and Butler answers with driving layup.

Butler made his next two shots as well, and the game was over.

Well-fought game tonight, Suns. Just couldn't make shots while the Bulls did.

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