Bulls lose to Suns, 104-99
Bulls fall to 3-16, face off against the Nuggets on Thursday
It was another eclipse by the Suns Tuesday as Phoenix made the Bulls disappear with a bright fourth quarter in which they outlasted a late Bulls rally for a 104-99 Suns win.
The Bulls hit the Suns with a late 12-1 surge. But crucial errors down the stretch thwarted the Bulls attempt at a comeback from a 17-point fourth quarter deficit with 6:02 left.
The Bulls were led by Justin Holiday with 25 points and Kris Dunn with a career high 24. Dunn also had eight assists and four steals, but a crucial late turnover among his four. Lauri Markkanen had 12 points and shot four of 15. Devin Booker had 33 for Phoenix and Alex Len had 13 points and 18 rebounds off the bench. The Suns out rebounded the Bulls 57-41. The Bulls were 16 of 40 on threes.
The Bulls fell to 3-16 with their 11th loss in their last 12 games and sixth straight. The Suns are 8-14. The Bulls play Thursday in Denver.
It was the same Bulls players, but with some company on the bench as Nikola Mirotic was on the bench for the first time this season, though still not ready to play. Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said he and Zach LaVine would practice with the Windy City Bulls while the team is in Denver Thursday. David Nwaba also still was not ready after his Nov. 4 ankle sprain. But Dunn was ready. After two of 17 shooting the last two games, Dunn had nine points and was four of four after the first four minutes as the Bulls started with an 18-10 lead. The Suns responded deftly with a flash of an 11-0 run to reclaim the lead and then the Bulls wrestled it back to lead 29-28 after one quarter. Dunn had nine points and Holiday eight. The Bulls went awry in the second quarter, Markkanen and Paul Zipser continuing their shooting slumps. They were a combined one of 14 in the first half as Markkanen was shooting 22 percent through the last five games and Zipser 28 percent for the season. The Bulls scored just 14 points in the second quarter. The Suns outworked the Bulls in the second quarter, grabbing the loose rebounds and second shots and took a 46-43 halftime lead as Alex Len had 10 rebounds off the bench by half.
The shooting problems continued into the second half with some turnovers sprinkled in. The result was the Suns casting a shadow over the Bulls with a 60-49 lead four minutes into the second half. The Bulls finally began to find the basket with a Denzel Valentine three and Dunn with a driving dunk and setups for Valentine and Holiday to draw within 65-57. The Bulls finally found the range starting with a Dunn three for a 13-2 close to the third quarter. Phoenix led 73-70 going into the fourth quarter. The Suns had a 45-32 rebounding edge after three quarters. But the Bulls gave it back with a tough start to the fourth quarter with four misses and a turnover as the Suns took an 80-70 lead two minutes in and then extended that to 87-72 with 8:22 left in the game as the Bulls turned fast breaks into missed threes and a 14-2 Suns start to the quarter. But the Bulls would not give in this time, a pair of Dunn threes late in the fourth quarter enabling the Bulls to climb within 95-89 on a 12-1 run with 3:35 left.
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