Deng lead Bulls over Celtics
CHICAGO (AP)—The Chicago Bulls understand they’ll be better off once Derrick Rose returns.
No need to rush, though. They keep winning even with their star sidelined.
Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng each scored 23 points to guide Chicago to a 89-80 victory over the Boston Celtics on Thursday night after blowing a 16-point lead.
It was hardly an easy night for the Bulls, but they won again even though Rose, the reigning MVP, missed his fourth straight game because of lower back pain.
“I think we’re all confident in our abilities, but we know that we’re not getting to where we want to get to without that guy,” Joakim Noah said.
The Bulls struggled early before going on a big run that gave them a 16-point lead in the opening minutes of the third quarter. Boston came roaring back and was up 61-60 early in the fourth after Chris Wilcox’s alley-oop dunk, but a 12-point run broke a 69-69 tie and sent Chicago to its seventh win in eight games.
Taj Gibson’s layup four minutes into the quarter started the decisive rally. Deng sandwiched a 3-pointer and layup around a free throw by Kyle Korver, and Boozer capped the rally with a pair of layups that made it 81-69, giving Chicago its league-leading 25th win.
Deng had another big game, finishing with 10 assists after dishing out a career-high 11 and scoring 23 in Tuesday’s win over Sacramento.
For the Celtics, it was their fourth defeat in five games. Kevin Garnett finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds after sitting out the previous night against Detroit with a hip flexor.
Rajon Rondo had 17 points and eight assists, but had his difficulties with Mike James guarding him. Pierce scored 14, and Ray Allen finished with 12 points after a slow start, but the Celtics came up short.