Short-Handed Bulls fall to Suns

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Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) and Chicago Bulls forward Thaddeus Young scramble for the ball during the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, March 31, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX (AP) — Devin Booker scored a season-high 45 points, Chris Paul added 19 points and 14 assists, and the Phoenix Suns held on to beat the Chicago Bulls 121-116 on Wednesday night.

The Suns built a 16-point lead midway through the third quarter, but the Bulls cut that advantage to 94-86 by the start of the fourth. Chicago hung close throughout the final minutes, pulling within three points multiple times. Thaddeus Young’s bucket in the paint brought the Bulls within 115-112 with less than a minute left.

Booker responded with his final bucket — blowing past Nikola Vujecic for a layup — and the Suns won their fourth straight. Chicago’s losing streak is now at five games.

Booker had another All-Star performance in a season full of them, making 17 of 24 shots from the field and 9 of 10 free throws. He was especially effective on mid-range jumpers, finishing time and again over Chicago’s defense.

Phoenix’s Dario Saric had 16 points off the bench on 6-of-9 shooting, including 3 of 5 on 3-pointers.

Chicago was led by Vujecic’s 24 points and 10 rebounds. Young added 19 points and 10 rebounds, and Denzel Valentine also scored 19 points.

Booker scored 22 points before the break on 10-of-14 shooting to help the Suns lead 67-58 at halftime. Phoenix made 10 of 18 (55.6%) shots from 3-point range.

TIP-INS

Bulls: Chicago was without G Zach LaVine (right ankle sprain) and G Coby White (left cervical pain). LaVine is averaging 27.5 points per game while White averages 15. White missed his second straight game. … G Tomas Satoransky played his 100th game with the Bulls. … Chicago closed the month of March with a 4-10 record. … Vucevic was called for a technical foul midway through the fourth quarter. … The Bulls lost despite a 50-32 rebounding advantage.

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