Noah Returns as Bulls Snuff Out Suns’ Run
The Chicago Bulls once led by 22 points but that lead began to get trimmed smaller and smaller by Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns.
Vince Carter had the hot hand for the Suns off the bench with 23 points by air-balled a fade away jumper, which was well-contested by Luol Deng. So instead of evening the game at 94, the Suns turned the ball over on a shot clock violation and Rose extended the lead to 96-92 upon hitting a 19-foot jump-shot.
However, with only 33 seconds remaining in the game and in-need of a quick basket, Vince Carter hit a contested lay-up over Luol Deng— avenging his airball on the previous possession. The Bulls still held a two point lead with 26 seconds remaining. The Suns made their intent clear that they were going to hold off from fouling right away but did grab Kyle Korver when he and Rose were successfully playing keep away.
Korver missed the first free throw and the second barely bounced in— giving the Bulls a 97-94 lead.
Steve Nash took the ball down the floor with only 13 seconds remaining in regulation and drove inside on Noah. He shuffled a pass to Gortat who missed a two-point attempt with time running out. The Suns botched the final play by not even getting a necessary three-point shot up at the rim and the Bulls held on for the victory.
Rose had a quiet game but again came through in the clutch by hitting an and-one lay-up and the vital 19-footer with inside of a minute to give Chicago a two possession lead.
Joakim Noah made his return to the line-up. He only had four rebounds but added 12 points, four steals, four assists and a blocked shot.
Steve Nash had 16 assists but it was in a losing effort. Chicago has won their fourth straight game and have taken a three game lead over the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Playoff picture with only five games remaining in the regular season.