Chicago at Boston

Celtics play gritty ball, hold on to beat Bulls in OT

CBSSports.com wire reports
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BOSTON -- Tom Thibodeau knows what the Celtics can do when the game goes into overtime: He was Doc Rivers' assistant when they played six OTs in a three-game span against Chicago in the 2009 playoffs.

"I know they have a lot of weapons, they're experienced, they know how to work the game and they're hard to guard," the Bulls' rookie head coach said Friday night. "I think the thing that often gets overlooked with them is not only their individual greatness but their collective greatness and their willingness to share with each other."

Kevin Garnett chased down Joakim Noah and tipped the ball away from behind with 14 seconds left in overtime, and the Celtics held on to beat Chicago 110-105. It was the second consecutive overtime game for the Celtics, the first back-to-back OT games since they played three straight against the Bulls in the first round of the 2009 playoffs.

"We got some valuable experience in these overtimes, which is great," Boston's Paul Pierce said. "I thought we really kept our poise."

Garnett had 16 points and 10 rebounds, and he also drew an offensive foul on Derrick Rose with Boston nursing a three-point lead in overtime. Ray Allen, who scored 25 points, followed with a dunk on an assist from Pierce to make it a five-point game.

After Luol Deng tipped in Kyle Korver's airball, Chicago had a chance to cut it to one point when Noah tried to take off on a fast break. But Garnett ran him down and tipped the ball to Glen "Big Baby" Davis; he hit the foul shots to clinch it.

"He's a gazelle," Davis said. "He runs. He's long. I don't know what Joakim was thinking, but he was trying to make a play for his team, so I give him credit for that."

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Noah had 26 points and 12 rebounds for Chicago. Deng scored 20 and Rose had 18 points and nine assists for Chicago, which lost its second straight game and fell to 0-2 on the road.

"I had a huge turnover at the end. I can't lose the ball in that situation," Noah said. "I think we're not there yet, but we're pretty close. We're only going to get better, and when we do, it's going to get real ugly for everybody who's talking real crazy. All the trash that people are talking right now is going to come back and haunt them. Because when it counts, we'll be ready."

Boston has won four in a row, and has not lost at home.

The Celtics led by as many as 16 points in the third, but Chicago cut it to six points late in the quarter and took the lead midway through the fourth when C.J. Watson hit a 3-pointer to give the Bulls an 82-81 lead. Boston opened a six-point lead before Deng hit a 3-pointer with 2 ½ minutes left, then he hit another with 1:18 left in regulation to make it 96-96.

The Celtics had the ball with 35 seconds left and a chance to take the lead, but Pierce overthrew Allen, and Keith Bogans outran Allen to the loose ball, diving to the court and calling a timeout before he rolled out of bounds.

That gave Chicago the ball with 23.3 seconds left. Rose dribbled the clock down before trying to drive against Rondo, but the Celtics point guard went low and knocked the ball away; it bounced to Noah, but he couldn't gain control before the buzzer sounded.

Rondo scored 10 points with 11 assists - below his record-setting average of more than 16 in the first five games. Rivers said Rondo had a foot injury that he was monitoring; the trainer had said Friday morning that Rondo would not be able to play.

The crowd gave Thibodeau a warm welcome back, but the biggest cheer was for Brian Scalabrine, who spent five years in Boston and became a fan favorite as a bench player on the '08 champions.

In fact, a video of Scalabrine's scoring and Thibodeau's coaching from their Boston days got a louder reaction than the later one commemorating Pierce's 20,000th point as a Celtic. The other Boston players applauded Pierce, who remained on the bench and nodded.

Notes

  • The crowd gave a big cheer when the scoreboard showed the Miami Heat losing in the fourth quarter to the New Orleans Hornets.
  • Davis drew two more charging fouls in the first half, giving him 11 for the season. The Celtics had 13 as a team coming into the game, compared to five for opponents.
  • Shaquille O'Neal did not play for the third straight game because of a bruised right knee. Rivers said O'Neal was questionable for the road trip to Oklahoma City, Dallas, Miami and Memphis.
  • Boston's Semih Erden and Chicago's Omer Asik, teammates on the Turkish national team, matched up in the low post in the first half.
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Kevin Garnett's gutsy 16-point, 10-rebound performance helps the Celtics fend off a surging Bulls team in overtime.  (Getty Images)
Kevin Garnett's gutsy 16-point, 10-rebound performance helps the Celtics fend off a surging Bulls team in overtime. (Getty Images)
Scoreboard
Chicago 2-3231526329105
Boston 5-1 «1930232414110
CHI:J. Noah 26 Pts
CHI:J. Noah 12 Reb
CHI:D. Rose 9 Ast
BOS:R. Allen 25 Pts
BOS:K. Garnett 10 Reb
BOS:R. Rondo 11 Ast
Players of the Game
BostonChicago

R. Allen

J. Noah
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
253326122

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Chicago
J. Noah, C498-1310-10122226
D. Rose, PG468-192-259218
L. Deng, SF438-192-262520
T. Gibson, PF409-140-072218
K. Bogans, SG221-32-28424
K. Korver, SG202-50-01135
R. Brewer, SG153-41-20107
O. Asik, C121-20-01032
C. Watson, PG72-20-01315
J. Johnson, PF60-40-02120
B. Scalabrine, C30-00-00010
K. Thomas, PF20-00-00000
C. Boozer, PFDid Not Play
Totals 42-8517-18432523105
 49.4%94.4% 
Boston
P. Pierce, SF434-142-275410
R. Allen, SG419-124-433125
R. Rondo, PG405-100-0311110
K. Garnett, PF397-172-2104016
J. O'Neal, C195-62-301312
G. Davis, PF374-107-830315
M. Daniels, SG195-63-423113
N. Robinson, PG133-70-00037
S. Erden, C100-02-23042
V. Wafer, SG30-00-00000
S. O'Neal, CDid Not Play
K. Perkins, CDid Not Play
D. West, SGDid Not Play
A. Bradley, PGDid Not Play
L. Harangody, PFDid Not Play
Totals 42-8222-25312720110
 51.2%88.0% 
Other Games
Mil 94 Final
Ind 90
NJ 90 Final
Orl 105
Cle 123 Final
Phi 116
Char 90 Final
Det 97
Wash 91 Final
NY 112
Mia 93 Final
NO 96
Atl 113 Final
Min 103
Mem 118 Final
Pho 123
LAC 104 Final
Den 111
Utah 78 Final
GS 85
Tor 103 Final
LAL 108