PHOENIX - Chicago's Carlos Boozer had 28 points while Luol Deng and Joakim Noah added 21 each as the Bulls blew an 18-point lead in the third quarter but recovered to score on their first five possessions of overtime to beat the Phoenix Suns 112-106 Wednesday night.
Luis Scola had 24 points and 13 rebounds before fouling out early in overtime and Sebastian Telfair added 17 off the bench including three 3-pointers for the Suns, who rallied from 26 points down to beat Cleveland here five days ago but couldn't make it all the way back this time.
Down 79-61 with three minutes left in the third quarter, the Suns roared back to tie the game twice, the last time on PJ Tucker's three-footer with 9.4 seconds to even the score at 100. Hamilton had a chance to win it for the Bulls but had his shot blocked by Shannon Brown and both teams went to overtime for the first time this year -- and for the Suns, the first time since April 11 of 2011 (75 games).
But the Bulls gained a second wind quickly in the extra period. With Scola fouled out and Markieff Morris down with a hip injury, Chicago used a 20-footer by Deng, two Boozer free throws, a pair of Hamilton jumpers and a 15-footer by Noah to put things away at 110-101 with 1:23 left.
The Bulls led 57-51 at the half and their defense took over the game in the third quarter, suffocating the Suns and forcing them into a 2-for-13 shooting start while stretching out their lead. Deng followed his three-point play with a 3-point jumper and Boozer capped a 20-4 run with a layup to give Chicago their 18-point lead with 3:04 left and they carried a 83-69 advantage to the fourth quarter.
But the Suns found a way turn the game around, using energy bench players Telfair, Tucker and Morris to claw back into the game. Telfair hit a pair of 3-pointers -- one after Deng hit a deflating, off-balance 25-footer to beat the shot clock -- and Scola inched the Suns within 88-81 on a layup with 7:55 left.
The Bulls had only three field goals and six turnovers in the first eight minutes of the quarter, and when Telfair hit his fourth 3-pointer of the night with 3:03, the Suns had come all the way back to forge a 93-93 tie and set up a wild finish.
The Suns were able to keep from falling behind early, as has been their custom. The teams traded baskets with Boozer matching Phoenix's Goran Dragic early, while late 3-pointers by Marco Belinelli and Nate Robinson off the bench gave the Bulls a 29-27 lead after one quarter.
The second period was a series of runs. The Bulls opened with a 7-2 spurt, with another Robinson 3-pointer extending the lead to seven at 36-29 with 9:45 left. But the Suns countered with a 13-2 streak, with Scola accounting for eight of the points with three jumpers and a layup. His 19-footer with 4:45 left gave the Suns a 46-42 lead. Scola had 16 points in the half, two above his season average.
But Chicago regrouped before the half, rattling off 13 consecutive points to take their biggest lead at 55-46 on Boozer's seven-foot jumper with 1:22 left. The Bulls bench, which accounted for 18 points in Monday's home loss to the Celtics, had 19 in the first half Wednesday with Robinson and Jimmy Butler each contributing six.
Telfair's 3-pointer with 6.3 seconds left pulled the Suns to within six at halftime at 57-51.
NOTES: The Bulls welcomed guard Kirk Hinrich back to the starting lineup after missing one game with a strained right hip. ... Suns guard Shannon Brown put up 115 points off the bench in the first eight games of the season, the most since Tony Delk had the same number over the first eight games of the 2001-02 season. His numbers are better than Eddie Johnson (1989-90), Rodney Rogers (1999-00) and Lenadro Barbosa (2006-07) in the years each won the NBA Sixth Man of the Year award. ... The Suns had 19 assists and only one turnover over the final 26-plus minutes of Monday's win over Denver. They are averaging 13.1 turnovers a game, third-best in the league entering Wednesday. ... Including three of their four wins to start this year, the Bulls are 34-2 over the last two seasons when holding an opponent under 90 points.