CHICAGO — Derrick Rose scored a career-high 39 points, Kirk Hinrich added a season-high 30 and the Chicago Bulls helped their playoff chances with a 101-93 victory over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night.
The eighth-place Bulls lead Toronto by a game in the Eastern Conference and will make the playoffs as long as they finish with a better record, meaning they need a win at Charlotte on Wednesday or a loss by the Raptors to New York.
Fourth-place Boston, meanwhile, can forget about catching Atlanta for the third seed after falling for the sixth time in nine games.
Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 28 points, and Ray Allen scored 25. Kevin Garnett added 14 points and nine rebounds after sitting out the previous game to rest.
The Bulls took control with a 14-4 run to start the fourth, giving them an 81-72 lead, and hung on for a crucial victory.
Rose scored 17 in the fourth, and Hinrich added 10, including a buzzer-beating jumper that made it 95-88 with 43.7 seconds left. Rose then punctuated it with a breakaway finger roll, opting against the dunk with the crowd ready to explode.
The Bulls were trailing 68-67 entering the fourth but scored the first six points, getting a nice break from Boston's Rasheed Wallace in the process.
He put back a missed jumper by Brad Miller, capping a six-point spurt to start the fourth that gave the Bulls a 73-68 lead.
Wallace simply glared toward the ceiling after his two-handed tip-in as the crowd roared. Shortly after that, a fan yelled "Give it to Wallace" as Miller held the ball before launching an airball before the shot-clock buzzer, and things continued to take a turn for the worse for Boston.
Rajon Rondo fouled Rose, resulting in a three-point play that made it 78-72. Joakim Noah hit a free throw after being fouled on an offensive rebound following a charge by Allen, and the Bulls scored again off another Celtics turnover. This time, Wallace's pass to Glen Davis went out of bounds because of a miscommunication and Rose pulled up for a jumper, making it 81-72.
Rose's previous best was 37 points. … Celtics backup G Tony Allen was sick and missed the game. … Coach Doc Rivers endorsed Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro before the game, saying, "I think he's done a very good job." He pointed out that the Bulls pushed the Celtics to seven games in the first round of the playoffs last year, although Boston was missing Garnett. He also mentioned that Chicago lost leading scorer Ben Gordon. "I think expectations, in some ways, were almost unrealistic," Rivers said. There is widespread speculation that Del Negro will be gone after the season. … Boston's coach also called Oliver Purnell "a phenomenal choice" to for DePaul. They coached together in the Goodwill Games. … Rivers said he considered giving Paul Pierce the night off, but "he wanted to play."
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