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Friday, January 18, 2013

The Bulls Are Still Not Scared Of The Celtics

As a Celtics fan, you'd have to be insane to want to see the Bulls this spring in the playoffs. They are so tough, unselfish, they play great defense and rebound well which equals just an awful matchup for the C's, even without Derrick Rose (who has yet to play this season).

The Bulls (23-15, 12-5 away) outlasted the Celtics (20-19, 13-8 home) 100-99 in overtime tonight at TD Garden as Marco Belinelli (10 points) hit a mid-range jumper with three seconds left. Courtney Lee (7 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals) understandably rushed 3-pointer which was way off as Chicago escaped with a wild victory.

Boston had multiple chances to win it but they couldn't hang on up 88-85 with 12 seconds left in regulation. The Celts fouled Kirk Hinrich (8 points, 5 assists) so he couldn't take a 3-pointer. That sound strategy looked smart when he missed one of two free throws. Unfortunately, Paul Pierce (13 points, 6 rebounds) later got trapped in the corner and a jump ball was called. The Bulls won that then raced down the court with Hinrich swishing the tying jumper with two seconds left.

In overtime, Jason Terry (9 points) hit a jumper of his own to put the C's up 99-98 with 12 seconds left. Rajon Rondo (30 points, 7 assists, 2 steals) fouled out earlier in overtime on a bogus call when Hinrich appeared to push him into Jimmy Butler's (13 points) knee.

UConn's Richard Hamilton led a balanced attack for the Bulls with 20 points. Carlos Boozer added 19 points and 20 rebounds, Joakim Noah had 14 points and 13 rebounds while former Celtic Nate Robinson scored 11 points off the bench.

Rondo scoring that many points is usually not a good thing as the rest of the Celtics weren't nearly as effective offensively. Kevin Garnett had 16 points and seven rebounds while Brandon Bass added 10 points (seems like the first time in weeks that he's been in double figures).

When you look at the numbers, it's surprising that the C's made it that close. Chicago shot 6.2% better from the field (48-41.2%), hit two more 3-pointers (5-3), three more free throws (23-20) and handed out six more assists (21-15). Boston stayed in it since the Bulls had 10 more turnovers (21-11), the Celtics tallied six more steals (10-4), 12 more fast break points (14-2) and eight more points in the paint (46-38).

In the worst timing for a game all season as far as we're concerned, the Celtics visit the Pistons (14-25, 4th in Central Division) on Sunday night (7:30 p.m., CSN). Set your DVRs or just flip over during the numerous commercials on CBS when you're watching Patriots-Ravens.

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