NBA Basketball

Lopez helps Bulls end losing streak, beat Suns 116-101

(Photo by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images)


Associated Press

PHOENIX (AP) Robin Lopez used his veteran guile to gain an advantage over the Phoenix Suns' young big men, and had major success at the expense of his former team.

Lopez scored 24 points on 11-for-14 shooting to help the Chicago Bulls beat the Phoenix Suns 116-101 on Monday night, snapping a five-game losing streak.

"My teammates, they were putting me in really advantageous positions," Lopez said. "It's always great seeing familiar faces here. I was here for four years, and there are a lot of people I'm still close to."

Zach LaVine had 17 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, and Lauri Markkanen added 17 points and nine boards for Chicago. The Bulls shot 52 percent (46 for 89) from the field.

Deandre Ayton had 25 points and 12 rebounds, and Devin Booker also scored 25 for Phoenix, which has lost three of four after a 5-2 stretch.

The Suns played without one of their top scorers and main contributors to their recent run of improved basketball, as Kelly Oubre Jr. missed the game with a left thumb sprain. Guard Tyler Johnson did not play due to a sore knee, missing his third straight game, and forward T.J. Warren hasn't played since Jan. 22 due to an ankle injury. Backup center Richaun Holmes also sat out with a quadriceps strain, his second straight game missed.

"No excuse," Suns head coach Igor Kokoskov said. "Physicality, strength, explosiveness, aggressiveness, they got us. No question the better team won the game."

Lopez hit four different angles of hook shots in the first quarter, helping the Bulls take a 34-20 lead into the second. Lopez scored 14 of his points with hook shots.

"It's tough," Lopez said of going against Ayton. "He's a great defender. He's got a long wingspan, so trying to put that over him, that's difficult."

Ayton admitted having a hard time defensively, and said he told Lopez he will "steal" the move from him.

"Lopez down low with a traditional hook shot, very unstoppable," Ayton said. "If I really wanted to contest it there would have been a foul every time because I was off and he was really protecting the ball."

The Suns missed their first six 3-pointers, and after Cristiano Felicio's putback dunk and free throw, the Bulls took their largest lead of the game, 19 points, with 10:22 to play in the second quarter.

The Suns responded with an 11-2 run capped off by Troy Daniels' 3 with 7:03 to go, making it 41-31.

LaVine's layup and free throw put the Bulls up by 19 again, 54-35, with 4:12 left in the half.

The Suns cut it to 56-43 at halftime, with Booker making just 3 of 11 shots, including four misses from 3-point range.

Phoenix pulled to 56-48 early in the third, but Lopez scored the Bulls' next three baskets for a 66-52 lead with 6:57 to go. Chicago went ahead by 18 in the third and led 86-73 going into the fourth.

The Suns got the Bulls' lead down to nine early in the fourth, but couldn't get any closer. Antonio Blakeney dunked with 9:25 to play to give the Bulls a 91-77 lead.

"We're starting to have some fun a little bit, LaVine said. "I think we shared the wealth a lot."

Chicago improved to 5-7 in the second of back-to-back games.


Bulls: Shaquille Harrison started at guard against his former team, and his first basket of the game was a driving dunk. ... F Otto Porter Jr. did not play due to a sore shoulder, and Boylen said there is no timetable for when he is able to play next. ... Chicago Cubs 3B Kris Bryant sat courtside for the game.

Suns: Ayton skied for a two-handed alley-oop dunk from Josh Jackson with 2:19 left in the third quarter. ... Rookie Mikal Bridges made his first start since Feb. 13 and scored 12 points. ... Ayton recorded his 36th double-double of the season and is one away from tying Alvan Adams for the franchise's single-season record.


Bulls: Host Washington on Wednesday night.

Suns: Host Detroit on Thursday night.


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Updated March 19, 2019

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Teams Score Time
Appalachian State   Sat 3:30pm
North Carolina  
Ball State   Sat 7:00pm
NC State  
Carolina   Sun 4:05pm
Teams Score Time
Air Force 0 08:40 1st
Boise State 0
Utah 0 13:45 1st
Boston College   Sat 12:00pm
California   Sat 12:00pm
Ole Miss  
Elon   Sat 12:00pm
Wake Forest  
LSU   Sat 12:00pm
Michigan   Sat 12:00pm
Southern Mississippi   Sat 12:00pm
Tennessee   Sat 12:00pm
Western Michigan   Sat 12:00pm
Appalachian State   Sat 3:30pm
North Carolina  
Auburn   Sat 3:30pm
Texas A&M  
Louisville   Sat 3:30pm
Florida State  
Miami (OH)   Sat 3:30pm
Ohio State  
SMU   Sat 3:30pm
UCF   Sat 3:30pm
Washington   Sat 3:30pm
Central Michigan   Sat 4:00pm
Ball State   Sat 7:00pm
NC State  
Old Dominion   Sat 7:00pm
Oregon   Sat 7:00pm
Charlotte   Sat 7:30pm
Oklahoma State   Sat 7:30pm
Notre Dame   Sat 8:00pm
Colorado   Sat 10:00pm
Arizona State  
UCLA   Sat 10:30pm
Washington State  
Teams Score Time
Philadelphia 2 7th
Cleveland 4
American League
Seattle 3 7th
Baltimore 5
Toronto 2 7th
New York 3
Boston 2 7th
Tampa Bay 0
Chicago 9 6th
Detroit 1
Kansas City 0 3rd
Minnesota 2
Los Angeles 1 3rd
Houston 6
Texas   10:07pm
National League
St. Louis 2 F
Chicago 1
New York 3 8th
Cincinnati 0
Washington 5 6th
Miami 2
San Francisco 0 7th
Atlanta 6
Pittsburgh 0 4th
Milwaukee 3
Arizona   10:10pm
San Diego  
Colorado   10:10pm
Los Angeles  
Teams Score Time
Atlanta   Sun 1:00pm
Baltimore   Sun 1:00pm
Kansas City  
Cincinnati   Sun 1:00pm
Denver   Sun 1:00pm
Green Bay  
Detroit   Sun 1:00pm
Miami   Sun 1:00pm
New York   Sun 1:00pm
New England  
Oakland   Sun 1:00pm
Carolina   Sun 4:05pm
New York   Sun 4:05pm
Tampa Bay  
Houston   Sun 4:25pm
Los Angeles  
New Orleans   Sun 4:25pm
Pittsburgh   Sun 4:25pm
San Francisco  
Los Angeles   Sun 8:20pm
Chicago   Mon 8:15pm
Teams Score Time
Buffalo 0 11:41 3rd
Toronto 2
Nashville 1 09:46 3rd
Tampa Bay 1
New York 1 13:11 3rd
New Jersey 4
New York 1 00:00 2nd
Detroit 1
St. Louis 2 12:26 2nd
Winnipeg 2
Calgary 0 17:57 1st
Edmonton 0
Pos # Name Start Pos
1 19 Martin Truex Jr 24
2 4 Kevin Harvick 3
3 2 Brad Keselowski 18
4 9 Chase Elliott 8
5 12 Ryan Blaney 23
6 88 Alex Bowman 19
7 24 William Byron 14
8 42 Kyle Larson 15
9 22 Joey Logano 22
Pos # Name Start Pos
1 20 Christopher Bell 4
2 00 Cole Custer 12
3 7 Justin Allgaier 2
4 1 Michael Annett 10
5 22 Austin Cindric 1
6 9 Noah Gragson 8
7 98 Chase Briscoe 5
8 39 Ryan Sieg 13
9 18 Harrison Burton 6
Pos # Name Start Pos
1 16 Austin Hill 7
2 45 Ross Chastain 2
3 51 Christian Eckes 1
4 2 Sheldon Creed 6
5 4 Todd Gilliland 3
6 30 Brennan Poole 18
7 24 Brett Moffitt 4
8 99 Ben Rhodes 13
9 18 Harrison Burton 9