Bulls 115, Suns 104
Until a little over a month ago, Derrick Rose had yet to score 30 points in an NBA game.
Now he's done it four times.
Rose scored 32 points and the Chicago Bulls, usually one of the worst shooting teams in the NBA, shot 51 percent to win just their fifth road game of the season, handing the Phoenix Suns only their fifth home loss with a 115-104 victory on Friday night.
Rose made 15 of 21 shots, including a 3-pointer at the third-quarter buzzer and an emphatic, two-handed fast-break dunk that put Chicago ahead 99-91 with 6:12 to play. His off-balance 20-footer sealed the victory with 1:13 to play.
``Derrick is just going to continually improve,'' Chicago coach Vinny Del Negro said. ``His jump shot obviously looks a lot better. He's got better arc on it, something we work with him a lot on. There's no secret pill or magic or whatever. It's about wanting to get better and putting the time and being coachable and wanting to learn.''
The second-year guard is one of 10 NBA players who pledged $1,000 for every point he scored Friday night to the Bush Clinton fund for Haitian relief.
``They need it right now,'' Rose said. ``The Haiti people, I feel for them. ... I'm happy that I gave it to them.''
Luol Deng added 23 points, Joakim Noah had 15 and John Salmons and Kirk Hinrich 14 apiece for the Bulls, 5-15 on the road this season and losers in their first two stops on a season-long seven-game road trip.
Amare Stoudemire scored 23 points and Grant Hill 17 in the Suns' fifth loss in the last six games. Channing Frye scored 16, including 4 of 7 on 3-pointers. Steve Nash had a tough night, making 4 of 12 shots for eight points with seven assists and five turnovers.
``Chicago did the unexpected,'' Stoudemire said. ``They hit shots.''
The Bulls topped 50 percent (43 of 85) for only the sixth time this season. Phoenix shot 38.5 percent.
``Our game plan was to make them jump shooters and keep them out of the paint,'' Hill said. ``For the most part, we did, and for the most part, they made their shots.''
Rose said he was just taking what Phoenix was giving him.
``I was just shooting,'' he said. ``I've been working on it the whole summer, after practice, before practice, just working on my form, getting the ball up and it's been going down.''
Down by 10 at halftime, the Suns rallied in the third quarter and were up 82-81 after Stoudemire's tip-in with 51 seconds to go. But Salmons made a 3-pointer, then Nash missed a driving layup in traffic.
That gave Chicago the final shot of the quarter. Rose took his only 3-point attempt of the night - and made it - at the buzzer to give the Bulls an 88-83 lead entering the fourth.
The teams went 3:15 without a field goal before Salmons made a 9-footer. He followed with 3-pointer that put Chicago up 97-91, then Rose added his spectacular dunk and the Bulls led 99-91 with 6:12 left.
Frye made consecutive 3s to cut the lead to 100-96 with 3:37 left. But Salmons responded with a 3-pointer, and Rose made one of two free throws to put Chicago ahead 103-96 3:08 from the finish.
Stoudemire's dunk narrowed the lead to 103-99 with 2:45 left, but Noah made two free throws, Deng sank a 19-footer, and Rose's 20-footer finished it off.
``We just really never got them to slow down,'' Suns coach Alvin Gentry said. ``They made a ton of shots.''
NOTES: Six players combined for 11 blocked shots for Chicago. ... The Suns have two All-Star starters (Stoudemire and Nash) for the second time in franchise history. Dan Majerle and Charles Barkley made it in 1995. ... Chicago's 64 points were three shy of its highest-scoring first half of the season. ... The Bulls entered the game averaging 94.5 points per game, fourth-lowest in the league. Phoenix led the NBA at 107.7 points per game. ... Del Negro - a former Phoenix player, broadcaster and team executive - is 3-0 against the Suns as the Bulls' coach.