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Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Bulls 112, Suns 106 (OT)

By Nick Friedell



PHOENIX -- Let's take a quick look at how the Chicago Bulls pulled out a 112-106 overtime win over the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night at U.S. Airways Center:

How it happened: The Bulls almost gave away an 18-point lead late in the second half, but they made just enough plays in overtime to pull out the win. Carlos Boozer had his best game of the season, scoring 28 points and grabbing 14 rebounds. Luol Deng added 21 points, while Joakim Noah had 21 points of his own and 11 rebounds. Noah’s jumper with just less than 30 seconds left in overtime helped ice the game for the Bulls.

What it means: The Bulls did what it took to win this game. Through the first three quarters, their defense was much more consistent than it had been in Monday night's loss to the Boston Celtics. What will surely anger coach Tom Thibodeau is how poorly the Bulls' defense played in the final 12 minutes. The lack of intensity defensively, combined with the Bulls' inability to score down the stretch, was almost a lethal combination on this night. The difference was in overtime, when they went back to basics and executed the way Thibodeau is always preaching about. The Bulls earned the win in overtime, but they made this game much more difficult than it had to be.

Hits: Aside from Boozer, it was Deng and Noah who led the way in this one. They combined for 42 points in 88 minutes.

Misses: Kirk Hinrich looked very rusty in his return from a hip injury. He spent the night in foul trouble and scored just three points. He did have seven assists and five rebounds, though.

Stat of the night: Coming into Wednesday's game, Boozer scored 26 points in his past three games combined. He scored 28 against the Suns.

What's next: The Bulls head to Los Angeles to face the Clippers on Saturday night.