Celtics hold off late Bulls rally

Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) – Evan Turner started in place of Rajon Rondo
and totaled 19 points, six assists and five rebounds as the Boston Celtics
escaped United Center with a 106-101 win over the Chicago Bulls on Saturday.

The Celtics shot 52 percent from the floor and saw seven players score in
double figures. Kelly Olynyk contributed 18 points and 11 rebounds, and Jeff
Green added 14 points in Boston’s second straight victory.

Aaron Brooks scored 19 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter to help cut
Chicago’s 19-point deficit down to two in the final minute, but the comeback
fell short.

“I just wanted to be a spark,” Brooks said. “I just wanted to give us a chance
to win it.”

Pau Gasol and Jimmy Butler netted 19 and 16 points, respectively, but the
Bulls’ four-game winning streak came to halt.

Both teams were without key contributors on the second game of a back-to-back.

Rondo sat out after having screws removed from his surgically repaired left
hand Saturday morning, and Marcus Smart began mending a sprained left ankle he
suffered in Friday’s win over the Pacers.

The Bulls were without Derrick Rose (ankles) for the fourth time in five
games, and they were sluggish out of the gate before a late rally.

A 9-0 spurt capped by a Brooks 3-pointer pulled Chicago within 97-91 with just
over two minutes remaining in regulation.

A baseline jumper from Turner was answered by a another Brooks triple, and two
Brooks free throws made it a 99-96 game heading into the final minute.

Olynyk made 1-of-2 at the foul line with 45.8 seconds to go, and Brooks banked
in a runner over Tyler Zeller at the other end.

Olynyk came down with a huge offensive rebound and stayed inbounds to extend
Boston’s next possession. Turner was fouled with 17.7 ticks left and made both
free throws, and Butler missed an elbow jumper to all but seal the outcome.

“We weathered the storm and made some plays,” Olynyk said. “We found a way.”

The Celtics started and ended the first half with big runs.

Their 12-2 spurt to open the game was quickly answered, and Chicago was
actually in front, 25-20, following a Mike Dunleavy 3-pointer in the final
minute of the opening quarter.

The Bulls were ahead by four, 33-29, before Boston ended the half with 27 of
the final 35 points. Olynyk’s putback of a Turner miss just before the buzzer
yielded a 56-41 cushion.

Boston held a healthy 83-67 advantage after three quarters of play.

Game Notes

Chicago won all three meetings against Boston last season … Joakim Noah
provided 13 points, 11 rebounds and six assists for the Bulls … Avery
Bradley added 13 points for the Celtics.