December 19, 2012

NBA: Bulls handle Celtics

CHICAGO (AP) — After enjoying one of the most complete games of his career, Joakim Noah may have invented a new position for himself.

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Boston Celtics forward Jeff Green (8) fouls Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng on Deng's drive to the basket during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012 in Chicago. The Bulls won 100-89. (AP Photo/Brian Kersey)

AP

Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer scored 21 points apiece, Noah had a triple-double and the Chicago Bulls beat the Boston Celtics 100-89 on Tuesday night.

Noah had 11 points, 13 rebounds and a career high-tying 10 assists for his second career triple-double.

"I always tell people I'm a point-center anyway," Noah joked after the game. "I always feel like I can pass the ball. I feel more comfortable with the offense and we have a lot of people who can score the ball in different ways."

Nate Robinson scored 18 points for Chicago and keyed a fourth-quarter surge that put the game out of reach, as the Bulls evened a 101-95 home loss to Boston on Nov. 12.

"(Noah) plays the game for the love of it," Robinson said. "If you watch him, he plays with his heart on his sleeve. Me and him, we are kind of similar with our energy."

Rajon Rondo led the Celtics with 26 points and eight assists. Paul Pierce added 16 points.

The Celtics have lost a season-high three straight games, all on the road.

"We're going to keep searching," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "This team is not a good team right now.

"This is who we are right now. A .500 team. And we played like that (tonight)."

The Bulls improved to 4-2 in the second of back-to-back games this season. Chicago bounced back from an 80-71 loss in Memphis on Monday, putting up their lowest point total in five seasons.

"I thought we showed a lot of toughness," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "I thought we played hard last night too. We moved the ball a lot better tonight."

The Bulls blew the game open with a 16-5 run to start the fourth quarter. Robinson hit three of his five 3-pointers during the run and scored 15 of his 18 points from behind the arc.

"I had to go back to my whole Peter Pan theory man," Robinson said. "You can't fight without happy thoughts."

Noah fed Taj Gibson for his 10th assist with 8:07 to go in the fourth, increasing Chicago' advantage to 15. His previous triple-double came against Milwaukee on Feb. 22.

"It feels good to win and play well," Noah said. "I think we moved the ball great, and when we move the ball like that, we're a tough team to beat."

Gibson scored a season-high 13 points off the bench, seven in the fourth quarter.

Robinson and Jimmy Butler scored six points each as the Bulls extended their lead to 13 points in the second quarter. Robinson hit two 3-pointers, and the Bulls shot 54 percent in the first half.

"(The bench) was great, and we needed everybody tonight," Thibodeau said.

Boston closed the half with a 7-2 run, with Rondo banking in a 3-pointer and scoring a layup to pull the Celticswithin 55-48 at the break. Rondo had 13 points and five assists in the opening half, while Kevin Garnett added 10 points and seven boards while hitting all five of his shots from the floor.

Rondo had 13 points and three assists in the third quarter and brought the Celtics within three on a layup with 3:40 to go in the period. Chicago scored the next nine points and led 79-70 entering the final period.

One bright spot for Boston was that Rondo turned the ball over just three times after totaling 14 in his previous two outings. Rondo turned the ball over 33 times in Boston's six games coming in.

Boston was outscored 30-12 after narrowing the lead to three in the third. Garnett was 0 for 5 and went scoreless after halftime.

(Continued on page 2)

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