Suns 107, Bulls 98, OT

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CHICAGO (AP)—Every move Shawn Marion made was emphatic.

And the Phoenix Suns forward punctuated his night by scoring eight of his 28 points in overtime in a 107-98 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night.

“I was just trying to be aggressive, and my teammates responded to me,” Marion said.

Tied at 92 after regulation, Marion scored the Suns’ first six points in overtime. His spinning layup on the right block made it 98-94 and sent the Bulls into a timeout with 2:17 left.

Eddie House then made a 3-pointer to make it a seven-point game. And after a layup by Chicago’s Ben Gordon, House threw a perfect bounce pass to Marion for a one-handed dunk that made it 103-96 with 43.5 seconds left.

Marion hit 13-of-22 shots and grabbed 16 rebounds to lead the Suns (19-10) to their fourth straight victory. Raja Bell scored 19 points, hitting 3-of-5 3-pointers, and Boris Diaw added 16 points, six rebounds and five assists.

Steve Nash banged his right wrist against Chicago’s Luol Deng going for a loose ball in the first half and had 14 points and 10 assists.

House scored 11 points—after finishing with 26 the previous night to lead the Suns to a 110-100 victory over Charlotte—but he played well again at the end. House had five points and two assists in the extra period, after scoring 12 in the fourth quarter against the Bobcats.

“As the play developed, I said, ‘I haven’t made any shots all night, with great looks. If I get this ball, I think I’m gonna knock it down,”’ House said of that 3-pointer. “Steve threw the ball to me. He said he thought for a second he’d back it out. He hit me in the corner, and I hit the shot.”

Kirk Hinrich scored 12 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the sixth straight loss for the Bulls (12-17).

Luol Deng scored 16 and had a career-high 13 rebounds. Chris Duhon scored 16 apiece, and Ben Gordon finished with 15. Duhon sprained his ankle early in overtime but returned with 56.6 seconds left.

“It stinks, that’s for sure,” Hinrich said. “Our losing streak, we wanted to break out of it. We played well enough to do it. We just didn’t win the game. It’s just real frustrating at this point.”

Bulls coach Scott Skiles kept his promise to shake up the starting lineup, replacing Andres Nocioni and Michael Sweetney with Gordon and Tyson Chandler. That gave the Bulls a three-guard set, with Gordon joining Hinrich and Duhon.

Hinrich missed his first five shots before hitting a baseline jumper midway through the second quarter. He scored 10 of the Bulls’ 12 points and had an assist during one stretch in the fourth quarter, starting with a 3-pointer that made it 82-77 and ending with another that made it 91-86 with 1:44 left in the game. But the Suns came back.

A layup by Nash and two foul shots by James Jones pulled Phoenix to 91-90 with 21.2 seconds left in regulation.

After Darius Songaila hit 1-of-2 from the line, a penetrating Nash found Marion for a layup that tied it at 92 with six seconds left. And Chicago’s Ben Gordon missed a driving layup at the buzzer, sending the game into overtime.

“I don’t think we had any business being in overtime,” Skiles said. “We’re up by five with 1:44 to go. As has been the case, we’ve had trouble getting stops. You’re up five with that amount of time left, you don’t need to score if you can get two or three stops in a row.”

It didn’t happen, though.

Marion took over in overtime, and House pitched in. Besides the three, he had two assists and hit two free throws with 32.9 seconds left.

But Marion dominated. This was his night, and his most emphatic basket was his last one.

The Bulls never caught Marion, whom Skiles called a “slippery player.”

“I was just trying to … keep moving around,” Marion said. “Scott coached me. I know Scott. I was thinking he’s going to mix it up as much as he can until he finds what’s working on me.”

Notes

Songaila and wife Jackie celebrated the New Year with a newborn. Daughter Meile, their first child, was born at 2 a.m. at a suburban hospital. Songaila went to sleep around 4 a.m. and finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds. … The Suns are 15-5 when they score 100 or more.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Phoenix
S. Nash S. Nash
4-10,  14 Pts
8 Rebs, 10 Assists
 Chicago
L. Deng L. Deng
7-15,  16 Pts
14 Rebs, 2 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists