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Butler’s season-high 32 power Bulls past Suns

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    Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe (2) looks to pass around Chicago Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich (12) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday

PHOENIX >> Jimmy Butler scored a season-high 32 points and the Chicago Bulls beat the Phoenix Suns 103-97 on Wednesday night for their fourth straight victory.

Pau Gasol added 17 points and eight rebounds, Kirk Hinrich scored 14 points and former Phoenix guard Aaron Brooks had 12 points as Chicago ended the Suns’ three-game winning streak.

Butler’s 3-pointer with 1:08 to play gave the Bulls a 99-92 lead, and he followed it up with a dunk with 9.2 seconds left while taking on a bigger offensive load with Derrick Rose sidelined by an ankle injury.

Brandon Knight paced Phoenix with 23 points and P.J. Tucker added 20 points and six rebounds. High-scoring guard Eric Bledsoe had his second-worst shooting night of the season, finishing 7 of 22 while scoring 21 points.

The Suns led 88-87 with 4:47 left on a pair of free throws by Bledsoe but couldn’t hold off Butler, who scored 14 in the final quarter.

The Bulls made 13 of 18 shots in the first quarter and equaled a season high for points in a quarter with 31, 10 of those from Butler.

Chicago went ahead 42-25 on a turnaround by Gasol with seven minutes left in the second quarter. But the Suns outscored the Bulls 22-11 until halftime, cutting the deficit to 51-47 on a 3-pointer from Bledsoe with 46 seconds left.

Hinrich got the start for Chicago in place of Rose, who was held out with a sprained left ankle.

Brooks left the game midway through the third quarter grabbing his left leg down the court on defense. He went back to the locker room immediately afterward but returned before the quarter was over, only to leave the game again with 4:15 to play due to a hamstring injury.

Forward Markieff Morris was back in starting lineup for Phoenix after missing the past two games with a left knee sprain. He scored six points in 28 minutes.


Bulls: The timetable for Rose’s return is day to day, coach Fred Hoiberg said before Wednesday’s game. Rose’s ankle is still sore and he’s not expected to do much in practice on Thursday beyond testing out the ankle with running and making cuts. . The Bulls have won 11 of the past 14 games between the teams and are 41-24 all-time in Phoenix.

Suns: Ronnie Price also returned to action for the Suns, playing eight minutes. Price missed the previous two games with a concussion. . The Suns were without key reserve T.J Warren, who was out due to flu-like symptoms. . Suns coach Jeff Hornacek was issued a technical foul for arguing for a call in the third quarter.


Late in the fourth quarter, the large contingent of Bulls fans at Talking Stick Resort Arena chanted “Let’s Go Bulls!” As is the norm in Phoenix, Chicago sports fans were out in full force to support one of the city’s teams.


Brooks bounced a pass between Joakim Noah’s legs and right to Butler, who hit a 19-foot jumper with 1:04 left in the first quarter. Noah reached down to grab the pass but the ball moved to fast, and Butler was in the right spot to collect and shoot.


Bulls: At Golden State Friday night.

Suns: At Denver Friday night.

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