Celtics-Bulls Live: C’s Withstand Furious Rally, Edge Chicago 106-101

Zack Cox Sat, Nov 8, 20146:33pm

6:30 p.m. ET: OK, here’s some good news and some bad news for Boston Celtics fans.

The good news is that both Rajon Rondo and Marcus Smart are expected to return to game action relatively soon. The surgery to remove a screw from Rondo’s hand should result in just a one-game absence, and Smart’s ankle injury is not as severe as some initially feared. 

The bad news? Neither of them will be available Saturday as the Celtics visit a stacked Chicago Bulls squad that would have been a formidable opponent even if Boston had its full stable of players available. 

The Bulls (5-1) come in tied with the Toronto Raptors for the best record in the Eastern Conference, but they also will be without their star point guard. Derrick Rose, who just can’t seem to shake his rash of injuries, has been ruled out for Chicago with two sprained ankles. 

For the Celtics (2-3), who will be without their No.1 and No. 2 point men, expect to see a significant uptick in minutes for Phil Pressey and Evan Turner. Avery Bradley could see some time at the point, as well, but head coach Brad Stevens likely wants Bradley to spend the majority of his minutes at the two. 

We will bring you the starting lineups as soon as they are released. 

Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. ET. Follow along with all the action right here, and follow NESN.com Celtics beat writer Zack Cox on Twitter for instant updates and analysis.

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images

Zack Cox Sat, Nov 8, 20146:39pm

6:35 p.m.: That was quick. We have our first lineup update:

Turner has spent a fair amount of time at point guard this season, but he hasn’t exactly lit the word on fire. He said before Friday’s game that he’s been working on not leaving his feet to pass — advice that might be paying off already. Turner turned the ball over just once against the Indiana Pacers after doing so five times Wednesday night.  

Again, expect to see a lot of Pressey, as well, after the second-year guard’s impressive performance against the Pacers.  

Zack Cox Sat, Nov 8, 20148:11pm

First quarter 11:59, 0-0: Game time. 

After rumors that the Bulls might start sixth man Taj Gibson at center, Chicago trots out its usual starting five (minus Rose), with Joakim Noah starting at the five.

Celtics
Evan Turner
Avery Bradley
Jeff Green
Jared Sullinger
Kelly Olynyk

Bulls
Kirk Hinrich
Jimmy Butler
Mike Dunleavy
Pau Gasol
Joakim Noah

Zack Cox Sat, Nov 8, 20148:19pm

6:35 p.m.: That was quick. We have our first lineup update:

Turner has spent a fair amount of time at point guard this season, but he hasn’t exactly lit the word on fire. He said before Friday’s game that he’s been working on not leaving his feet to pass — advice that might be paying off already. Turner turned the ball over just once against the Indiana Pacers after doing so five times Wednesday night.  

Again, expect to see a lot of Pressey, as well, after the second-year guard’s impressive performance against the Pacers.  

Zack Cox Sat, Nov 8, 20148:19pm

First quarter 6:32, Celtics 12-2: We’re seeing a lot of sloppiness from the Bulls thus far as the Celtics grab an early 10-point lead. Chicago is just 1 of 11 from the floor, with Dunleavy, Noah, Butler and Gasol all missing multiple shots. 

Olynyk had a hand in one of Dunleavy’s misses — literally. He swatted the veteran’s shot away with a big-time block. 

Turner also has one nifty pass to his credit, feeding Sullinger for an easy two. 

Zack Cox Sat, Nov 8, 20148:21pm

First quarter 6:32, Celtics 12-2: We’re seeing a lot of sloppiness from the Bulls thus far as the Celtics grab an early 10-point lead. Chicago is just 1 of 11 from the floor, with Dunleavy, Noah, Butler and Gasol all missing multiple shots. 

Olynyk had a hand in one of Dunleavy’s misses — literally. He swatted the veteran’s shot away with a big-time block. 

Turner also has one nifty pass to his credit, feeding Sullinger for a contested two. 

Zack Cox Sat, Nov 8, 20148:25pm

First quarter 2:44, 18-18: Noah spun Turner like a top in the paint for his first points of the night, and the Bulls already have erased their early deficit with a 16-6 run. Gasol and Dunleavy led the charge with six points apiece. 

Over on the Celtics’ side, Brandon Bass has four points off the bench on 2-of-3 shooting. Boston as a team is shooting well from the floor and doing a nice job of spreading the love. Seven players have scored for the C’s, but Bass’ four points lead all. 

Zack Cox Sat, Nov 8, 20148:31pm

End first quarter, Bulls 25-20: Pau Gasol’s corner three didn’t quite beat the buzzer, but the Bulls still were able to turn a 10-point deficit into a five-point lead in the latter half of the first quarter. 

Mike Dunleavy is doing some serious damage from beyond the arc for Chicago (3-for-5, nine points), and Gasol already has six rebounds. 

Olynyk leads all Celtics scorers with five points and has taken more shots (four) than any of his teammates. 

Zack Cox Sat, Nov 8, 20148:40pm

Second quarter 8:35, Bulls 31-29: Phil Pressey is testing out his 3-point range and continuously coming up short. All four of his attempts from deep have hit the front of the rim as he’s yet tally a point. 

Jared Sullinger has had more success from long range, drilling his second three in two tries to help keep the Celtics close. He and Jared Sullinger are tied for the team lead with six points apiece. 

Tyler Zeller also checked in with requisite “catch a sweet pass and get fouled at the rim,” with Pressey providing this particular feed. 

Zack Cox Sat, Nov 8, 20148:48pm

Second quarter 5:11, Celtics 38-35: The Celtics are keeping it tight here in the first half. Avery Bradley sinks a mid-range jumper and draws a foul in the process to give Boston a slight cushion. 

Preceding Bradley’s bucket was a nice, close-range basket by Zeller, whose plus-6 rating tonight leads all bench players.

Pressey finally found paydirt, sinking a straightaway 3-pointer after coming up empty on his first four attempts.

Zack Cox Sat, Nov 8, 20148:55pm

Second quarter 1:24, Celtics 49-41: The momentum continues to swing wildly in this one, as the Celtics now hold an eight-point lead after a 16-4 run. Avery Bradley is propelling the C’s offense with 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting. 

Boston might be down another offensive weapon, though:

Zack Cox Sat, Nov 8, 20149:00pm

Halftime, Celtics 56-41: Wait, which one of these teams is 5-1?

The shorthanded Celtics certainly weren’t expected to keep pace with the Bulls tonight, but they’ve done that and more through the first 24 minutes. Avery Bradley is leading the way with 11 points, two rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block, and the Celtics’ other four starters have chipped in with eight points apiece. 

Now, we’ll see if they can hold on.

Zack Cox Sat, Nov 8, 20149:13pm

Third quarter 11:59, Celtics 56-41: Everyone ready? Good. We are underway in the second half. 

Zack Cox Sat, Nov 8, 20149:24pm

Third quarter 5:15, Celtics 69-53: Evan Turner is having himself a night. 

The point guard-by-necessity has put together an impressive stat line in his first start of the season: 15 points (6-of-10 shooting), five rebounds and four assists. He’s also come up with his first 3-pointer of the season and an emphatic, over-the-head dunk.

Jeff Green now is the only Celtics starter yet to reach double figures. His ankle appears to be OK, though. 

Zack Cox Sat, Nov 8, 20149:30pm

Third quarter 2:08, Celtics 79-61: The Bulls are hitting some shots, but the Celtics are not giving an inch. Marcus Thornton tallied five points in two possessions, and Kelly Olynyk sank an easy layup off a nice dish from Turner to bring the Boston lead back to 18. 

Zack Cox Sat, Nov 8, 20149:37pm

End third quarter, Celtics 83-67: The Celtics show no signs of slowing down, and they’ll begin the fourth quarter at the foul line. Chicago’s Aaron Brooks was hit with a technical foul in the final seconds of the third. 

Kelly Olynyk and Evan Turner each have 15 points for the Celtics, who are shooting 53.0 percent from the floor. 

Zack Cox Sat, Nov 8, 20149:53pm

Fourth quarter 5:51, Celtics 95-80: The Celtics still hold a 15-point advantage as we pass the halfway mark of the final quarter. 

Marcus Thornton did his high-energy thing off the bench in the first six minutes of the frame and now has 11 points. Tyler Zeller has been awesome, as well, racking up 10 points, six rebounds and four assists in what has been his most complete effort of the season. 

Zack Cox Sat, Nov 8, 20149:58pm

Fourth quarter 3:32, Celtics 97-86: Chicago has cranked up the intensity to cut the Celtics’ lead to 11 with less than four minutes to play. The Bulls are on an 8-2 run, with four of those points coming from Aaron Brooks. Brooks has come off the bench to lead all Chicago scorers with 16 points. 

Zack Cox Sat, Nov 8, 201410:02pm

Fourth quarter 2:14, Celtics 97-91: An 11-point lead? Make that six. 

Brooks drills another big shot — this one from three — and the Bulls have a full head of steam.

The Celtics badly need a bucket.  

Zack Cox Sat, Nov 8, 201410:05pm

Fourth quarter 1:05, Celtics 99-94: Five-point lead. 

Evan Turner hits a baseline jumper to stop the bleeding, but it’s immediately followed up by yet another Brooks three. 

Zack Cox Sat, Nov 8, 201410:08pm

Fourth quarter 0:45.8, Celtics 100-96: Olynyk is fouled going to the rim and sinks one of two from the line, making this a two-possession game again. 

Zack Cox Sat, Nov 8, 201410:09pm

Fourth quarter 0:30.6, Celtics 100-98: Aaron Brooks. Again.

Zack Cox Sat, Nov 8, 201410:19pm

Final, Celtics 106-101: Two huge rebounds by Kelly Olynyk and two free throws from Evan Turner help shut down a determined Bulls team and seal the Celtics’ biggest win of the young season. 

Both Olynyk (18 points, 11 rebounds) and Turner (19 points, six assists, five rebounds) turned in impressive performances, and the C’s earned a victory without the services of Rajon Rondo and Marcus Smart. 

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