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Boozer powers Bulls to 101-92 win at Phoenix
Question of the Day
PHOENIX (AP) - A trip to the desert was enough to get the Chicago Bulls back on track.
The Bulls shot 45 percent from the field and had five players score in double figures, bouncing back from an ugly 99-70 loss at Sacramento on Monday. The Bulls shot 28 percent and were outrebounded 53-30 against the Kings.
One night later, it was a completely different story.
“You could have used an excuse if you chose to do so, but that’s what I love about the team,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “They come out and they’re going to fight. They picked themselves up and did it together and you could tell in the first quarter the commitment to get back, the commitment to get to put their bodies in front of people and take charges, make hustle plays, make effort plays.”
Jimmy Butler and D.J. Augustin had 18 points apiece for the Bulls, who won for the fifth straight time in Phoenix. Joakim Noah, who was ejected in the third quarter of the loss at Sacramento, had 14 points and 14 rebounds.
Chicago (24-24) had dropped three of four, including an 88-79 loss at New Orleans on Saturday.
“We got punched in the mouth in New Orleans, we got punched in the mouth in Sacramento and we just wanted to come out and compete for 48 minutes as a team,” Noah said.
The Bulls kept the Suns‘ prolific offense in check, holding them 13 points under their average even though Phoenix (29-19) was coming off two days’ rest. Boozer didn’t play for much of the fourth quarter as Chicago went mainly with Taj Gibson as an interior defender, but his teammates did damage on offense down the stretch.
Butler’s 3-pointer with 4:43 to play gave the Bulls an 89-80 lead, but Goran Dragic hit a 3 and Leandro Barbosa, playing extended minutes with sharpshooter Gerald Green struggling, drove for a layup to cut the lead to 89-85.
Dragic, the reigning Western Conference player of the week, led Phoenix with 24 points. It was the guard’s fifth straight game with 20 or more points.
Channing Frye had 18, and Barbosa scored nine of his 13 in the fourth quarter.
“We gave up so much easy stuff,” Dragic said. “We didn’t bring it, no energy and we didn’t do smart plays. They did not let us run our actions. They were denying our big guys. It was just hard to pass and cut.”
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