PHOENIX (AP) -Derrick Rose again proved why he was the No. 1 pick in the 2008 NBA draft and why he is one of the premier guards in the league.
Rose scored 35 points and hit numerous big shots, helping the road-weary Chicago Bulls rally from a 23-point, second-quarter deficit to beat the Phoenix Suns 123-115 in double-overtime Wednesday night.
The game was tied at 101 after regulation following Rose's two free throws with 14 seconds remaining. Rose, who also had 12 assists, again came through in the clutch, tying the score at 111 with 0.1 seconds left in the first overtime on a reverse layup. He then scored the Bulls' first five points in the second overtime - one more than the Suns scored in the entire period - giving the Bulls a 116-113 lead.
``I wasn't caring about the shots I was shooting,' said Rose, who shot 14 of 33. ``My teammates had faith in my jump shots. Grant Hill was giving me space and I was taking it.
``We just kept fighting. It wasn't going our way, but we are the type of team that grinds and we are never going to stop. We knew we could come back on that team.'
Coach Tom Thibodeau also had faith in Rose.
``We wanted to get him attacking the basket,' Thibodeau said. ``When we were attacking it put a lot of pressure on their defense and also got us in the paint.'
Luol Deng contributed 26 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulls. Reserve Kyle Korver scored a season-high 24, and Joakim Noah had 17 points and 15 rebounds.
Hill led the Suns with a season-high 27 points and Hakim Warrick had a season-high 23, all in the first half, including 19 in the second quarter. Jason Richardson finished with 20, Steve Nash had 14 points and 16 assists, and Channing Frye scored 16.
The Bulls never led until the first overtime, when a jumper by Rose gave then a 103-101 advantage.
But the Suns forged ahead 108-107 on a 3-pointer by Richardson. Two free throws by Frye made it 110-107 before Noah tapped in a shot. A foul shot by Richardson made it 111-109, leading to Rose's dramatic last-second basket.
Suns coach Alvin Gentry bemoaned the team's lack of awareness before Rose's tying basket.
``We had a foul to give (and didn't give it),' Gentry said.
Hill took the blame for allowing Rose to score.
``Rose went backdoor and I lost my footing,' Hill said.
Richardson felt the Suns lacked aggressiveness after they got their big lead, which still was 78-60 in the third period.
``If we have a team down like that, we've got to bury them,' he said. ``We have to have a killer instinct. We should have beaten them and we should have buried them.'
Warrick had a sensational second period, scoring 14 consecutive Phoenix points on an assortment of shots - a jumper, a stuff, a vicious dunk, a layup and free throws. Through the first two periods, he was nearly flawless, hitting seven of eight field goal attempts and nine of 10 free throws.
He helped the Suns open a 50-27 lead before the Bulls battled back to close the gap to 62-50 at halftime. Deng led Chicago's comeback, amassing 13 points by halftime. The Suns' 62 points were a season high for a half, as were their 36 points in the first quarter, when they led 36-17.
During the opening quarter, the Suns were extremely efficient, hitting 63.6 percent of their shots (14-for-22) and not committing a turnover.
The third period turned into a duel between Hill and Rose. The Suns' 38-year-old forward pumped in 12 points during the quarter and the Bulls' backcourt star scored 10 as Phoenix maintained its 12-point lead, 84-72.
Forward Taj Gibson was a late scratch for the Bulls, resting a tender right ankle.
Notes: This was the Bulls' fifth game in their seven-game ``circus' road trip. They complete their long journey Friday night at Denver and Saturday night at Sacramento. ... Offseason acquisition Carlos Boozer, who has not played this season because of surgery on a broken right hand, is expected to return to the Bulls' lineup next month. ... This is Chicago's 20th anniversary season of its first NBA championship. On March 12, the Bulls will welcome back former players and coaches from the 1990-91 season for a recognition ceremony during halftime of their home game against Utah. ... The Suns have played 11 of their 15 games against playoff teams from last season.
The Associated Press News Service
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