PHOENIX (AP) — Carlos Boozer's latest big game against Phoenix came in handy when the Chicago Bulls blew an 18-point lead.
Boozer had 28 points and 14 rebounds, and the Bulls scored the first eight points in overtime to outlast the Suns 112-106 on 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 piled up 50 points in the paint. Luol Deng added 21 points and center Joakim Noah had 21 points and 12 rebounds.
"I just played off my teammates," Boozer said. "Rip (Hamilton) got me going in transition, Kirk (Hinrich) got me going with pocket passes."
Chicago scored six points on putbacks in a 10-0 run that gave the Bulls a 79-61 lead in the third quarter. But the Suns fought back in the fourth by being active on the offensive boards and defending with more energy.
"The lesson we have to learn is we have to play tough with the lead," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "I thought we got a little loose. We were throwing lobs and not strong with the ball."
Luis Scola had 24 points and 14 rebounds for Phoenix, while Sebastian Telfair scored 17 off the bench.
"We played extremely hard, we just couldn't come up with offense when we needed it," Suns coach Alvin Gentry said. "Defensively in the second half I thought we did a great job of just hanging in and shaving a few points here and there. The players are trying to learn each other. ... In the meantime, we just keep playing hard and keep competing, and somewhere along the line good things are going to happen for us."
Marcin Gortat banked in a hook shot to cut Chicago's 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.
Richard Hamilton hit one of two free throws to give the Bulls a 100-98 advantage before 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 found themselves in overtime for the first time since April 11, 2011, and it took them a little while to get acclimated.