PHOENIX – Carlos Boozer had 28 points and 14 rebounds to help the Bulls outlast the Phoenix Suns, 112-106, in overtime Wednesday night.
Boozer, who scored 31 against Phoenix in the previous meeting last season, was a force at power forward again. He made 11 of 20 shots and had his way inside as the Bulls scored 50 points in the paint. Luol Deng added 21 points and center Joakim Noah had 21 points and 12 rebounds.
The Bulls scored six points on putbacks in a 10-0 run that gave them a 79-61 lead in the third quarter. But the Suns fought back in the fourth by being active on the offensive boards. Luis Scola had 24 points and 14 rebounds, while Sebastian Telfair scored 17 off the bench.
Marcin Gortat banked in a hook shot to cut the Bulls’ lead to 91-88, and Shannon Brown made it 91-90 on a driving layup with 4:22 to play in the fourth.
Telfair’s 3-pointer tied it at 93 with 3 minutes left, but the Bulls hit four of six free throws over the next 2 minutes to go up 99-95. Brown converted a three-point play and Boozer missed a jumper to give Phoenix another chance to take the lead, but Brown missed on a drive to the basket with 19 seconds to go.
Hamilton hit one of two free throws to give the Bulls a 100-98 lead, but P.J. Tucker gathered in a loose ball and laid it in to knot the score at 100 with 9.4 seconds left.
Hamilton missed a chance for the lead, and Phoenix didn’t have time to get off a shot before the buzzer to end regulation. The Suns played their first overtime game since April 11, 2011.
The Bulls led 29-27 at the end of a back-and-forth first quarter. Boozer scored 10 points and the Bulls shot 62 percent from the field.
The Bulls led by as many as seven points in the second, 40-33, before Scola heated up. He scored eight points during a 13-6 run that gave the Suns a 46-42 lead with 4:45 left in the first half.
The Bulls stormed back with a 13-0 run, led by Boozer and reserve Jimmy Butler. Boozer scored 16 points in the first half on 8-of-12 shooting and the Bulls went 4 of 7 on 3-pointers while shooting 58.5 percent in the first half to lead 57-51 at the break.
Scola shot 8 of 13 and scored 16 points in the first half to go with seven rebounds.
The Bulls jumped out to a 63-54 lead, matching their largest advantage of the game, in the first 3 minutes of the third quarter. Noah stole a pass and dribbled from beyond halfcourt for a dunk to cap a mini-run.
Suns forward Markieff Morris went down hard in the closing seconds of regulation and walked slowly off the court with a bag of ice on his backside. He didn’t return.
NOTES: Bulls G Kirk Hinrich returned to the lineup after missing Monday’s game against Minnesota with a strained right hip. He scored three points and had seven assists in 27 minutes. ... Suns C Jermaine O’Neal was activated before the game after missing the previous five to attend to a family matter. He did not play. O’Neal has not played since Nov. 4 at Orlando. ... Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp sat courtside.