Lopez helps Bulls end losing streak, beat Suns 116-101
ABS-CBN Sports on Mar 19, 2019 12:54 PM
Chicago Bulls center Robin Lopez looks to shoot over Phoenix Suns forward Dragan Bender (35) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, March 18, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)
By Jose M. Romero, Associated Press
PHOENIX (AP) — Robin Lopez scored 24 points to help the Chicago Bulls beat the Phoenix Suns 116-101 on Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time), snapping a five-game losing streak.
Zach LaVine had 17 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, and Lauri Markkanen added 17 points and nine boards for Chicago. Lopez shot 11-for-14 from the field as the Bulls were 52 percent (46-for-89).
Deandre Ayton had 25 points and 12 rebounds, and Devin Booker also scored 25 for Phoenix, which has lost 3-of-4 after a 5-2 stretch.
The Suns played without one of their top scorers and main contributors to their recent run of improved basketball, as Kelly Oubre Jr. missed the game with a left thumb sprain. Guard Tyler Johnson did not play due to a sore knee, missing his third straight game, and forward T.J. Warren hasn't played since Jan. 22 (Jan. 23, PHL time) due to an ankle injury. Backup center Richaun Holmes also sat out with a quadriceps strain, his second straight game missed.
Lopez hit four different types of hook shots in the first quarter, helping the Bulls take a 34-20 lead into the second. Lopez scored 14 of his points with hook shots.
The Suns missed their first six three-pointers, and after Cristiano Felicio's dunk and free throw, the Bulls took their largest lead of the game, 39-20, with 10:22 to play in the second quarter.
The Suns responded with an 11-2 run capped off by Troy Daniels' triple with 7:03 to go, making it 41-31.
LaVine's layup and free throw put the Bulls up by 19 again, 54-35, with 4:12 left in the half.
The Suns cut it to 56-43 at halftime, with Booker making just 3-of-11 shots, including four misses from three-point range.
Phoenix pulled to 56-48 early in the third, but Lopez scored the Bulls' next three baskets for a 66-52 lead with 6:57 to go. Chicago went ahead by 18 in the third and led 86-73 going into the fourth.
The Suns got the Bulls' lead down to nine early in the fourth, but couldn't get any closer. Antonio Blakeney dunked with 9:25 to play to give the Bulls a 91-77 lead.
Chicago improved to 5-7 in the second of back-to-back games.
Bulls: Shaquille Harrison started at guard against his former team, and his first basket of the game was a driving dunk. ... F Otto Porter Jr. did not play due to a sore shoulder, and head coach Jim Boylen said there is no timetable for when he is able to play next. ... Chicago Cubs 3B Kris Bryant sat courtside for the game.
Suns: Ayton skied for a two-handed alley-oop dunk from Josh Jackson with 2:19 left in the third quarter. ... Rookie Mikal Bridges made his first start since Feb. 13 (Feb. 14, PHL time) and scored 12 points. ... Ayton recorded his 36th double-double of the season and is one away from tying Alvan Adams for the franchise's single-season record.
Bulls: Host Washington on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time).
Suns: Host Detroit on Thursday night (Friday, PHL time).