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The Daily Wildcat

 

Loss to Suns tough for Bulls

Chicago Bulls' Hakim Warrick (21) gets entangled with Phoenix Suns' Louis Amundson during the second quarter of NBA action at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois, on Tuesday, March 30, 2010. The Suns defeated the Bulls, 111-105. (Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune/MCT)
Nuccio DiNuzzo
Chicago Bulls' Hakim Warrick (21) gets entangled with Phoenix Suns' Louis Amundson during the second quarter of NBA action at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois, on Tuesday, March 30, 2010. The Suns defeated the Bulls, 111-105. (Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune/MCT)

CHICAGO — In the franchise history of undesirable Bulls scenarios — along the lines of, say,Dennis Rodmaninsulting the Mormons orDalibor Bagaricplaying at all — having Jannero Pargo guardSteve Nashwould have to rank up there.

That’s not to deride completely Pargo’s effort on the two-time most valuable player during the Suns’ 111-105 victory over the Bulls on Tuesday night at United Center because Pargo actually acquitted himself fairly admirably.

It is to say that losingKirk Hinrichto a sprained left ankle late in the first half further stretched thin a Bulls team already withoutLuol Dengand running out of playoff lives.

Speaking of undesirable scenarios: The Bulls now trail the Raptors for the final Eastern Conference berth by 1 1/2 games with eight to play. The Raptors own the tiebreaker and play host to a Clippers team finishing a back-to-back withoutBaron Davison Wednesday.

The Bulls will be replaying the painful memories of this loss perhaps all offseason.

The Suns grabbed their first lead of the fourth quarter at 98-97 with 3 minutes, 1 second remaining. Nash trappedFlip Murrayon a screen, andJason Richardson, who led the Suns with 27 points, buried a 3-pointer.

Derrick Rose, who tied Murray for team-high honors with 23 points, countered with a floater with 2:48 remaining.

Nash, who had 22 points and 10 assists, beat Pargo for a lane jumper with 1:54 to play beforeBrad Millersneaked inside to draw a foul onAmare Stoudemiretrying to rebound Pargo’s miss. That kept the possession alive and led to two Rose free throws with 1:36 left to make it 101-100 Bulls.

Miller got caught guarding Nash on a switch, and Nash crossed him over, scored and drew Miller’s fifth foul for a three-point play with 1:14 to play. Rose tied the score by drawing a foul on Stoudemire with 59.8 seconds left and sinking both free throws.

ButTaj Gibsongot caught sleeping watching a Nash-Stoudemire screen-and-roll from the weak side, leavingChanning Fryeall alone to bury a 3-pointer with 41.6 seconds left.

Rose blew down the lane for a left-handed layup with 37.7 seconds left to make it 106-105 Suns. Nash drove on Pargo and fedGrant Hillfor a dunk with 23.2 seconds left.

The Bulls then inexplicably had Rose hoist a double-pump 3-point attempt that missed badly, forcing Miller to foul Nash intentionally with 13.1 seconds left. Nash sank both free throws to seal the Suns’ eighth straight victory and a playoff berth.

Earlier, the Bulls stormed back from a 12-point, first-quarter deficit to grab a 60-57 lead when Murray got hot. He scored 14 points, including three 3-pointers, during a second quarter in which the bench scored 31 of the Bulls’ 35.

But the half ended badly. Beyond Hinrich’s sprained ankle,Chris Richardgot whistled for a flagrant foul onJarron Collinswith 1.2 seconds left, and Noah drew a technical foul arguing the call as the teams walked off the court.

 

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