Goran Dragic may be playing through a sore left elbow, but that hasn't stopped him from showing why he could eventually land a spot on the Western Conference All-Star team.
Even though they have the sixth-best record in the West, the surprising Suns (29-18) were shut out when All-Star selections were revealed last week.
Dragic, scoring a career-best 20.0 per game, figured to be the team's top candidate since he's one of only three players - along with LeBron James and Kevin Durant - averaging at least 19 points and five assists while shooting at least 48 percent.
Dragic also has averaged 26.8 points on 63.9 percent shooting - including 9 for 13 from 3-point range - over his last four games. He scored 25 while making 10 of 14 from the field as Phoenix won its fifth in a row, 105-95 over visiting Charlotte on Saturday.
The veteran guard may still be invited to his first All-Star Game with injuries likely to force one or more players out of the contest.
''It doesn't matter," Dragic said after not getting selected initially. "I just want to play hard and be with my teammates and make the playoffs.''
The Suns certainly appear to be headed in that direction as they go for their longest winning streak since a 10-game run late in the 2009-10 season.
Chicago (23-24) has won four straight in Phoenix, though the last two meetings have gone to overtime. The Bulls also overcame Dragic's 21 points in a 92-87 home win in the first matchup this season on Jan. 7.
Taj Gibson finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds in that contest, while All-Star Joakim Noah added 14 points and 16 boards with Carlos Boozer out because of a sore right knee.
Chicago, however, is hoping to bounce back after posting a 28.2 field-goal percentage - its lowest since 2003 - in a 99-70 loss at Sacramento on Monday.
Following a 96-86 win at San Antonio to open a six-game trip, the Bulls have totaled 149 points on 33.1 percent shooting - including 7 for 36 from 3-point range - while dropping their last two.
''We played poorly. I am not going to put it on the officials,'' coach Tom Thibodeau said. ''The one thing about this league is that things can change quickly and they have. Just as quickly as can go from good to bad and it can go bad to good. But we have to change this and work our way out of this.''
A frustrated Noah had four points and four boards Monday before getting ejected in the third quarter, ending his career-best string of 18 consecutive games with double-digit rebounds.
Boozer had eight points on 4-of-15 shooting Monday, and played seven minutes in the fourth quarter after voicing his displeasure with coach Thibodeau's tendency not to play him late in games. He's averaged 21.1 points and 12.1 rebounds on his last seven trips to Phoenix dating to his time with Utah.
The Bulls have been outscored in the paint by a 98-48 margin in their last two losses. They could be tested inside again by a Phoenix team that held a 48-26 edge in paint points in Saturday's win.
The Suns, who have averaged 112.0 points overall while winning eight of 10, will try to deal Chicago its longest skid since losing four straight from Dec. 14-19.
The Bulls have won eight of 10 meetings with the Suns.
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