Hill Faces Oprah, Helps Suns Beat Bulls
Friday, November 16th 2007, 10:35 am
By: News On 6
PHOENIX (AP) _ First he faced New York, then he appeared on Oprah, then he flew home to play Chicago. It's been some kind of week for Grant Hill, the newest of the Phoenix Suns. Still, the 35-year-old forward had enough energy for a 24-point night that help the Suns to their fourth victory in a row, 112-102, over the struggling Chicago Bulls on Thursday night.
``I was a little tired there at the end,'' he said. ``Thankfully, we got the win, thankfully there are no more trips to Oprah, just trips to whatever city we're playing.''
Two nights earlier, Hill scored 21 in Phoenix's victory over New York. On Wednesday, he took a chartered flight with his wife Tamia for the appearance on Oprah Winfrey.
The hectic schedule aside, Hill is beginning to feel comfortable with his new team and its ultra up-tempo style.
``I'm starting to get my legs, starting to turn the corner there, and just find a rhythm,'' he said. ``It's a process, but I feel good now and just want to keep looking to get better.''
In the only other game, Dallas beat San Antonio 105-92.
Suns forward Shawn Marion, who scored 11 of his 21 points in the final 6 1/2 minutes, admitted his nerves were shook up a bit after being involved in a car accident on his way to the arena.
``I almost sat out the second half because I wasn't feeling right at all,'' Marion said. ``It didn't hit me until afterward that I was in a wreck before the game. My team helped me, coach and everybody kept telling me to just take deep breaths and go out there and get it done.''
Boris Diaw had seven of his 10 down the stretch in relief of Amare Stoudemire, who drew four fouls in a 3:18 minute span of the fourth quarter.
Steve Nash had 10 points and 15 assists for the Suns, and Stoudemire added 14 points.
``We had our ups and downs a little bit,'' coach Mike D'Antoni said. ``Boris had a start that was bad, but he came on and his fourth quarter was great. That's what we have to have.''
Nash had seven assists in the fourth quarter.
``Steve came in and kind of regained control of the game for them,'' Chicago coach Scott Skiles said, ``and we didn't have much of an answer for it.''
Ben Gordon scored 24 and Luol Deng had 23 for the Bulls, who rallied from 14 down in the third quarter to take the lead in the fourth. Chicago fell to 1-6 to start the season.
``I thought we played hard, but toward the end of the game and throughout the game we made some bad decisions,'' Gordon said. ``We've just got to shore some things up.''
At least this game was an improvement, said Skiles, whose team was blown out at home by 30 points against Toronto in their last game, at home on Saturday.
``There were stretches for longer time periods where we played a little bit higher-quality basketball, that's for sure,'' Skiles said, ``but we're not in this to do that. We're in this to try to win the game.''
Diaw's three-point play with 7:28 to go put Phoenix ahead for good, 88-85. The Bulls scored to get within one, then Marion's inside basket on a pass from Hill triggered a 9-0 run that put Phoenix in control for good.
The decisive spurt featured Barbosa's final 3-pointer, on a kickout pass from Nash on a fastbreak, to give the Suns a 93-87 lead with 6 minutes to play.
``I was feeling great,'' Barbosa said. ``Steve always finds everybody who is open. He found me open, and I was happy to make that shot.''
The Bulls finished the third quarter with an 11-1 run to tie it at 75 on Kirk Hinrich's 16-footer with 21 seconds to go in the period. Chicago took a 76-75 lead when Tyrus Thomas made one of two free throws to start the fourth.
There were four lead changes and five ties before Diaw's three-point play.
Mavericks 105, Spurs 92
Josh Howard sparked first-half spurts of 17-1 and 11-0, letting host Dallas build a huge lead that they turned into an easy victory over San Antonio.
Howard finished with 23 points, Jason Terry and Devin Harris had 18 apiece, and Dirk Nowitzki added 17.
Manu Ginobili led San Antonio with 25 points, and Tim Duncan added 24.