Celtics Stuffed By Board-Happy Bulls 96-83

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Celtics Stuffed By Board-Happy Bulls 96-83 What a difference a day makes.

After throttling one opponent on the road, the Celtics took it on the chin from another at home, dropping a 96-83 decision to the Chicago Bulls at TD Garden on Thursday night.

Boston's only lead was at 2-0 and it never got closer than four points after a 9-0 spurt by the Bulls midway through the first quarter. All this after a 111-87 win at New Jersey on Wednesday that saw the Celtics score 71 first-half points.

Paul Pierce
scored 20 points to lead the C's but needed 18 shots to do it. Kendrick Perkins chipped in 14 points and 10 boards and Eddie House had 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting off the bench.

Chicago held a 50-39 advantage on the boards, had 16 second-chance points to Boston's two and blocked 10 shots, dominating the paint against a Celtics unit missing two big men.

Bulls 96, Celtics 83
TD Garden, Boston, MA
Jan. 14, 2010

Live Blog | Box Score

Headliner: The Celtics tried both Pierce and Ray Allen on him, but Luol Deng was in charge. He made his first six shots of the game and led all scorers with 25 points. Deng, who had a total of 21 points on 7-of-24 shooting in the first two games against Boston this season, set the tone early by scoring eight points in a span of less than four minutes of the first quarter, a burst that gave the Bulls a 21-12 lead.

Unsung Hero: Kirk Hinrich was rushed into point guard duty early when Derrick Rose got into foul trouble. He responded. After replacing Rose in the first quarter, Hinrich dished out four assists and then ended the quarter with consecutive layups to make it 29-18.

Perhaps even more crucial for Chicago, Hinrich hounded Allen all night, forcing the Celtics All-Star into his ugliest line of the season — eight points, one rebound, zero assists, three turnovers.

Scrub: Since we already mentioned Allen, let's pin a little bit of blame on Rajon Rondo. Sure, he had 15 points and seven assists, but Rondo also had five turnovers, was miserable down the stretch and was one of the culprits in a 15-of-28 showing from the line for the Celtics.

Rondo hit just 3-of-7 free throws. It was his steal with 5:09 left and Boston trailing by six that brought the fans to their feet, and his pass into the hands of Chicago's Taj Gibson four seconds later that caused them to groan.

Rondo had zero points and three turnovers in the fourth.

Turning Point: When Kendrick Perkins scored on a layup with 8:06 left, Boston was within four points, its smallest deficit since the score was 9-6. But Deng hit a 19-footer, Rose buried a 17-footer and Joakim Noah made a layup to open it back up to double digits in a heartbeat.

The C's never got closer than six thereafter.

Up Next: After playing four games in five days, Boston gets a much needed three-day rest. Aside from the All-Star break it will be the last such layoff of the season for the C's, who next play Monday at home against Dallas.

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