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Bulls Win Again in Phoenix, Pacers Snap Atlanta Losing Streak

After entering the game with a $15,000 Joakim Noah fine and a disgruntled Carlos Boozer, the Chicago Bulls (24-24) left their baggage behind and defeated the Phoenix Suns (29-19), 101-92 on Tuesday. This represented their fifth straight win in Phoenix.

The Bulls overcame an ugly 99-70 Monday loss to the Sacramento Kings (16-32)  on 28 percent shooting and 53-30 outrebounding by the Kings. On Tuesday, five Bulls hit double figures for scoring and shot 45 percent from the field.

Carlos Boozer

Carlos Boozer

Boozer led in scoring with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Jimmy Butler and D.J. Augustin both added 18 points each with Noah, after his ejection from Monday’s game, returned and contributed 14 points with 14 rebounds.

After losing their last three of four games, Noah said of Tuesday’s matchup via the Associated Press, “We got punched in the mouth in New Orleans, we got punched in the mouth in Sacramento, and we just wanted to come out and compete for 48 minutes as a team.”

The Bulls led throughout the game, entering halftime with a 44-33 advantage and started the final quarter at 69-63. Three-pointers were keys to the success at the end for both teams. The Suns came within four points of the Bulls but fell short in the end.

With the loss, the Suns saw their five-game win streak come to an end. Goran Dragic led in scoring with 24 points. This represented his fifth consecutive game with 20 points or greater. Channing Frye added 18 points while Leandro Barbosa contributed 13 points (nine during the fourth quarter).

The Suns will look to get back on a win streak by playing the Houston Rockets (32-17) on Wednesday but this will not happen (-7.5, 212 o/u). Looking ahead to the 2014 NBA Championship, the Suns are 75/1 to win it all.

As for the Bulls, who are on Game No. 4 of a six-game road trip, they’ll head to the court on Thursday against the Golden State Warriors (29-20). For the Championship, the Bulls are 66/1.

In other Tuesday Central Division action, the Indiana Pacers (38-10) advanced their win streak with an 89-85 victory over the Atlanta Hawks (25-22).

This represented a big win for the Pacers as they have previously struggled against the Hawks, last defeating them in May 2013 during the playoffs but during the regular season, they had lost their 12 previous games in Atlanta including the Jan. 8 game, 97-87.

When was their last win in Atlanta? Back on Dec. 22, 2006.

David West

David West

For the night, David West led in scoring with 22 points, followed by Paul George at 18 points. In the third quarter, Lance Stephenson landed hard on the floor hitting his left hip and shoulder. After a few free throws, the player left for the remainder of the game.

West said of the game via the Associated Press, “I thought our resolve took over. We were really precise with our movement and what we wanted to do. And we made plays when we needed to make plays.”

From the game, the Hawks, going up against the league’s defensive leader, were challenged offensively by them. Mike Scott was the top scorer with 15 points (nine in the fourth quarter); Elton Brand added 12 points and Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver both had nine-point games.

Next up is the New Orleans Pelicans (20-27) on Wednesday. The Hawks will suffer another loss (-2.5, 197 o/u).

The Pacers will host the Portland Trail Blazers (34-14) on Friday. For the 2014 NBA Championship, Indiana is 11/4 to win it all.

As for Wednesday night action in the division, the Cleveland Cavaliers (16-32) will host the Los Angeles Lakers (16-32). Both teams will enter the game with losing streaks: Cleveland is at five while the Lakers have seven straight losses.

Cleveland will end its skid on Wednesday (-6.5, 208 o/u).

The Detroit Pistons (19-28) will play the Orlando Magic (13-37) and get the win (-3.5, 201.5 o/u) while the Milwaukee Bucks (9-39) will again lose, this time against the Denver Nuggets (23-23)(-12.5, 208.5 o/u).



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