Kemba Walker scored a season-high 33 points while Evan Fournier chipped in a solid night on the offensive end, but the shorthanded Boston Celtics fell to the Chicago Bills 121-99 at United Center on Friday.
Boston cut what once was a 21-point third-quarter lead to just eight points in the fourth, but Chicago used a crunch-time run to pull away. The Celtics trailed for the final three quarters.
Walker shot 10-for-21 with six 3-pointers in 35 minutes. Fournier scored 15 of his 17 points in the first-half while playing 36 minutes. Jayson Tatum didn’t have his best night offensive end as he shot 3-for-15 and concluded with nine points.
Boston fell to 35-32 on the season while Chicago improved to 28-39.
Here’s how it went down:
PG: Kemba Walker
SG: Marcus Smart
SF: Evan Fournier
PF: Jayson Tatum
C: Tristan Thompson
FOURNIER LEADS FIRST
Fournier started off hot by hitting each of his first three shots from the field in helping Boston to a 11-9 lead 4:26 into the contest.
And Fournier kept that going throughout the opening quarter by hitting each of his first five shots from the field including a trio of 3-pointers. He scored 13 points in the first quarter.
Walker chipped in nine points of his own as he shot 3-for-6 in the quarter.
Boston’s ball movement led to seven first-quarter assists as the Celtics shot 46% (11-for-24) from the field. Tatum was 1-for-5 with two points in the quarter.
Still, the Bulls held a 30-28 lead after the first quarter.
BULLS GO ON A RUN
The Celtics didn’t get much in the scoring column from Tatum in the first half (1-for-7) all while the Bulls put together a run late in the quarter with three players — Nikola Vucevic (12), Coby White (12) and Zach LaVine (10) — scoring double figures.
Boston shot 8-for-23 in the quarter and 40% (19-for-47) in the half.
Thompson, though, found himself making some plays on both ends.
Fournier was held to just two points in the quarter while Walker scored six as both led the way with 15 in the first half.
The Bulls, though, were able to extend their lead to as much as 17 before taking a 60-46 at the half.
The Celtics weren’t able to gain much ground on the Bulls as Chicago held a 73-59 lead midway through the quarter.
And the Bulls added to their hold with a 10-2 run late in the period. Tatum was the only one to score during the stretch as Chicago extended its lead to as much as 87-66 with 1:45 left in the quarter.
Walker hit a 3-pointer in the final seconds to cut Boston’s lead to 91-74 entering the fourth quarter.
BULLS PULL AWAY
The Celtics and Bulls traded punches to open up the fourth quarter while Chicago kept its 14-point lead eight minutes in.
Grant Williams closed the gap to 98-90 with a 3-pointer midway through the quarter. Williams finished on a pair of free throws to get the deficit back to eight, 100-92, less than a minute later, but from there the Bulls turned it back on.
Chicago used a 12-0 run in a three-minute span to retake a 112-92 lead and essentially put the game on ice.
PLAY OF THE GAME
… At least this ball movement was nice?
The C’s return to the floor as the host the Heat on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.