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Nash clutch play helps Suns edge Bulls

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Two-time MVP Steve Nash, battling back spasms, out-dueled young point guard Derrick Rose to lead the Phoenix Suns to a 111-105 win over the Chicago Bulls and their eighth successive victory on Tuesday.

"We've had a great run and we're just holding our own,'' Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry told reporters. "We are playing really good basketball as a team.

"We have been closing out games lately."

Rose, last season's Rookie of the Year, scored Chicago's final eight points and finished with 23 and 10 assists. He twice seized the lead for his team in the final three minutes and tied the game 103-103 on two free throws with 59 seconds remaining.

The Bulls (35-39) fell 1- games behind the Toronto Raptors for the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Guard Kirk Hinrich also injured his ankle when he stepped on a team mate's foot in the second quarter and did not return.

Phoenix guard Jason Richardson had a game-high 27 points while Amare Stoudemire recorded 21 and 11 rebounds, keeping the Suns in the fourth spot in the Western Conference.

The Suns built an 11-point lead after the first quarter only for the Bulls to take momentum and a 60-57 lead at halftime to set up an exciting second half.

Ronald Murray had 23 points and nine rebounds off the bench for Chicago, while Joakim Noah, who has suffered from foot injuries, added 12 points and 10 rebounds.

"It was a tough loss," Noah said. "I thought we played with good energy. It's just tough when late in the game you have chances to win."

(Reporting by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)