Celtics Wrap: Bulls Beat C’s On Horrendous Foul In Final Second Of Play

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The Boston Celtics enter NBA All-Star Weekend as winners of 11 of their last 13 games, but the way Thursday night’s game against the Chicago Bulls ended will leave a sour taste in their mouths.

The Bulls beat the Celtics 104-103 at the United Center in controversial fashion. Celtics guard Marcus Smart was called for a very, very questionable foul on Bulls forward Jimmy Butler with 0.9 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Butler sunk both free throws to give Chicago the lead and the win.

Still, Boston goes into the break in second place in the Eastern Conference, just three games behind the first-place Cleveland Cavaliers.

Here’s a recap of Thursday’s loss.

INJURIES
Chicago: Dwyane Wade
Boston: Avery Bradley, Jaylen Brown

STARTING LINEUP
PG: Isaiah Thomas
SG: Marcus Smart
SF: Jae Crowder
PF: Amir Johnson
C: Al Horford

BENCH BOOST
The Celtics are one of the league’s deepest teams, and they played a total of 11 guys against the Bulls. All six players who came off the bench scored, with the unit scoring 45 points overall. Kelly Olynyk and Terry Rozier led the way with 17 and 11 points, respectively.

AMIR JOHNSON COMES TO LIFE
Johnson has struggled a bit this season, but he played one of his better games Thursday. He hit his first five shots and finished the first half with 10 points. It’s just the third time in the last 10 games that Johnson has reached double-digits in scoring.

ISAIAH PASSES A LEGEND
Thomas scored 29 points against the Bulls for his 41st consecutive game scoring 20-plus points. He passed Celtics legend John Havlicek for the most consecutive games with 20 or more points in team history as a result.

Thomas also dished out seven assists.

THIRD-QUARTER SETBACK
The Celtics went into the half with a 58-52 lead, but it was all gone by the end of the third quarter. The Bulls outscored the Celtics 29-20 in the third frame to take an 81-78 edge entering the fourth quarter. Butler’s offense was the key component to Chicago’s second half push. He finished the game with 29 points, including a perfect 9-for-9 from the free-throw line.

HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT
It seems like Smart makes an amazing defensive play like this one each game.

UP NEXT
NBA All-Star Weekend in New Orleans is here. It all begins Friday with the Rising Stars Challenge and ends with the 66th All-Star Game on Sunday night. The C’s will return to action Friday, Feb. 24 when they travel to Toronto to take on the Raptors. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. ET.

Thumbnail photo via Dennis Wierzbicki/USA TODAY Sports Images

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