Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 2)

Series starts 11/18

Game 1: Tuesday, November 18th
Game 2: Monday, January 5th

Suns 82

(12-23, 3-15 away)

Bulls 87

(11-23, 6-12 home)

    7:30 PM ET, January 5, 2004

    United Center, Chicago, IL

    1 2 3 4 T
    PHX 12 25 18 2782
    CHI 25 17 20 2587

    Top Performers

    PHX: L. Barbosa 27 Pts, 3 Reb, 4 Ast, 2 Stl

    Chi: J. Williams 13 Pts, 15 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 Stl

    Suns have lost six of last eight games

    CHICAGO (AP) -- The Phoenix Suns almost stole one from the Chicago Bulls.

    Kirk Hinrich scored 19 points, Jerome Williams added 13 points and 15 rebounds and Rick Brunson hit two clutch free throws in the final seconds as Chicago defeated short-handed Phoenix 87-82 Monday night, only hours after the Suns completed a blockbuster eight-player trade.

    Phoenix opened the game looking flat, playing just a few hours after the trade that sent Stephon Marbury, Penny Hardaway and Cezary Trybanski to New York for Antonio McDyess, Howard Eisley, Charlie Ward and Maciej Lampe, and the rights to Milos Vujanic and two first-round picks to Phoenix was finalized.

    "I think we were all a little anxious tonight to start off the game," Casey Jacobsen said. "We all wanted to step up our play and I think we got a little bit too tight -- all of us -- and it showed. But once we relaxed, that was one of the best games I've seen us play on the road as far as playing together, having energy, playing defense."

    The Suns dressed only eight players for the game. Scott Williams went on the injured list before the game to make room for the trade and McDyess, Eisley, Ward and Lampe aren't scheduled to join the team until Friday when the Suns host Sacramento.

    It looked like the Bulls were going to pull away early in the fourth quarter when they went on a 7-0 run to take a 71-60 lead with 8:25 left on a pair of free throws by Eddie Robinson, but the Suns and Leandro Barbosa fought back.

    "They could have folded early, but they didn't," Bulls forward Kendall Gill. "Normally when a trade like that happens a team plays well. They have a couple of guys that have opportunities to play and they don't have anything to lose."

    The Suns went on a 13-4 run to cut it to 75-73 on a pair of free throws by Jacobsen with 3:57 left. Barbosa, who finished with a career-high 27 points in a career-high 39 minutes, scored seven during the run. He cut the Bulls' lead to 83-82 on a driving layup off a nice pass from Jake Voskuhl with 19 seconds left.

    "It's a difficult situation, but we have to keep going," Barbosa said. "Stephon is a very good friend of mine. I cried today. I love him, but we have to keep it going."

    Brunson then hit two free throws to make it 85-82. Phoenix's Shawn Marion missed a 3-pointer with 12 seconds left that could have tied it.

    "With the way the wins are coming, we will take them anyway we can," Gill said. "We are not only struggling as a team, but we are struggling individually, but we have to keep playing and regroup, get our games together."

    Robinson finished with 12 points for Chicago, scoring 10 in the fourth quarter. Eddy Curry finished with 11.

    Joe Johnson had 18 points and eight rebounds for Phoenix.

    Marion had 13 points for Phoenix, which has lost six of its last eight games.

    Game Notes: Williams went on the injured list before the game with back spasms. ... Scott Skiles made his first coaching appearance against the Suns. He coached Phoenix from 1999-2002.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 82 87
    FGM-FGA 33-81 (.407) 33-88 (.375)
    3PM-3PA 2-16 (.125) 6-22 (.273)
    FTM-FTA 14-17 (.824) 15-20 (.750)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 11-40 18-49
    Assists 22 25
    Turnovers 18 17
    Steals 11 12
    Blocks 6 1
    Fast Break Points 7 3
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (0/0) 19 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    Leandro Barbosa Barbosa
    Points: 27
    Reb: 3
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0
    Jerome Williams Williams
    Points: 13
    Reb: 15
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0