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SUNS RUN BULLS OUT OF TOWN

SHARE SUNS RUN BULLS OUT OF TOWN

Michael Jordan hates to lose. So does Charles Barkley. And if they played on the same team, they might never have to deal with it.

"We didn't control him very well," Jordan said Tuesday night after Barkley's 35 points, 16 rebounds and unbending spirit helped the Phoenix Suns beat the Chicago Bulls 106-96. "He believes in himself and his team, and that is why I love him so much."He showed everyone he still has a lot of heart, and he is one of the great players in this game. I have to bow my head to him tonight."

The Bulls (41-5) had won nine straight road games and 18 in a row until they lost in Denver on Sunday. Now, they've lost two in a row for the first time since last February.

The 10-point defeat was the most lopsided of the five losses for the Bulls, whose other losses were at Orlando, Indiana and Seattle.

They also are 3-2 with Bill Wennington in the middle instead of injured Luc Longley. Jordan scored 28 points, Scottie Pippen 19 and Toni Kukoc 18, but Phoenix outrebounded the Bulls 42-34 despite Dennis Rodman's 14 boards.

"Hopefully, this is just two games and we get ourselves on track," said Jordan, who missed 5 of 11 free throws down the stretch while Chicago's comeback effort came up short for the second straight time.

Barkley had been saying all week that the Bulls were soft.

"I think they don't like really physical games," he said. "I think the only physical players they've got are Michael and Dennis, and I felt like if I was really physical with Dennis, he would get frustrated, and I thought he did."

"He has been saying that we're are not that good and that he couldn't wait until this game," Bulls guard Steve Kerr said. "He can say whatever he wants; he is Charles Barkley, and he backs it up."

In an 18-second span of the fourth quarter, Barkley hit a 3-pointer from the corner and stole a pass by Ron Harper for a dunk. With 9:17 left, the Suns had an 83-74 lead.

Then Jordan went to work, scoring 12 points in the final six minutes to twice tie the score.

But Elliot Perry broke a 96-96 tie with two free throws and a long jumper, and Barkley stole an inbounds pass for a breakaway dunk, putting the game out of reach with 47 seconds to go.

Jordan was 10 of 17 from the line overall.

Lakers 99, Nuggets 78

Did Magic Johnson ever really leave? It didn't look that way at Denver.

Johnson scored 16 points, dished out 12 assists and narrowly missed a triple-double with nine rebounds. He played 33 minutes and looked fresh in the fourth quarter, when he had eight points, five assists and two rebounds.

Magic 112, Kings 102

The Magic moved closer to the NBA record for home wins at the start of a season. Anfernee Hardaway scored 24 points and Shaquille O'Neal had 22 as they improved to 25-0 at Orlando Arena and extended their NBA-high home winning streak to 32 regular-season games, dating back to last spring.

SuperSonics 99, Rockets 94

Another tough home team is Seattle, which is 20-2 at Key Arena after its seventh consecutive victory over the Rockets. Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton both scored 22 points. Detlef Schrempf scored 17 points and Sam Perkins added 14.

Cavaliers 91, Celtics 73

At Cleveland, Bobby Phills scored 21 points and the Cavs' league-leading defense let only two Boston players reach double figures: Todd Day with 14 and David Wesley with 11.

Spurs 109, Hornets 102

The visitors put this one away early, hitting their first seven shots and 10 of 11 in a 20-0 run. Vinny Del Negro scored 13 of his 17 points in the first quarter. David Robinson had 23 points and 15 rebounds and Sean Elliott added 23 points for San Antonio.

Bucks 114, Mavericks 111

Vin Baker had 36 points, including a key fadeaway basket, and a lead-saving block in the closing seconds. Glenn Robinson and Sherman Douglas each added 17 points for Milwaukee, which had lost four of its previous five home games.