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Bulls fail to finish the job
Jalen Rose hung his head over a crucial missed free throw, his first in 34 attempts.
Trenton Hassell burned over allowing Stephon Marbury to drive past him in regulation. Jay Williams agonized over a missed three-pointer in overtime, and Jamal Crawford wondered what might've been.
That's the thing about the Bulls' agonizing 115-111 overtime loss to Phoenix Monday at America West Arena. Pick a play--almost any play--and change the outcome and the Bulls aren't talking about dropping to 2-24 on the road and 0-9 against Western Conference teams.
"We can all go back and look and say if we had made that one play, we would've won," Donyell Marshall said.
Instead, the Bulls were kicking themselves over blowing an 11-point, third-quarter lead and a six-point lead with 2 minutes 34 seconds left in regulation as they flew to Denver to end this five-game trip.
Marbury, brilliant with 36 points and nine assists, drove past Williams to give Phoenix the lead for good with 2:10 remaining in overtime. After a foul on Marshall, Marbury blew past Williams again for a 111-108 lead.
Williams, who played the entire fourth quarter and all but 18 seconds of overtime despite Jamal Crawford tallying 15 points, seven assists and no turnovers, then missed a three-pointer with 1:03 to play.
"I didn't see any difference in the two of them," coach Bill Cartwright said. "They both took some shots that they shouldn't have taken."
Said Crawford: "I'd be lying if I said I didn't think I would get back in."
Following a Shawn Marion miss, Williams was fouled with 28.2 seconds left but made only the second of two free throws.
The Bulls fouled Marion with 19.9 seconds to play, and he hit both for a 113-109 lead. Window dressing followed.
Marion matched Marbury with 36 points. Rose led the Bulls with 28 points, and Marshall added 23 points and a season-high 18 rebounds.
The Bulls led 100-94 with 2:34 left in regulation and were still up 102-99 with 1:11 left. But Marbury drove on Hassell for a layup and foul to tie the game with 52.1 seconds left.
Marshall rebounded a Rose miss and scored with 27.9 seconds remaining to give the Bulls their final regulation lead. A defensive breakdown on a switch allowed Marion to drain a wide-open three-pointer with 19.4 seconds left in regulation for a 105-104 Suns lead.
Rose drove and got fouled with 9.1 seconds left. But riding a string of 33 straight made free throws, Rose, an 84.3 percent free-throw shooter, missed the first of two and could only force overtime with the second.
"Being a great free-throw shooter, I expect to make every one, especially ones at critical points of the game," Rose said.
Downcast doesn't begin to describe the scene in the Bulls' locker room afterward.
"It's just very disappointing that all that effort goes to waste because we can't get one stop," Cartwright said.