Rapid Reaction: Bulls 93, Celtics 86

April, 5, 2012
4/05/12
11:28
PM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Let's take a quick look at how the Chicago Bulls earned a 93-86 win over the Boston Celtics on Thursday night at the United Center.

How it happened: Luol Deng exploded in the second half, finishing the game with 26 points, six rebounds and three assists as the Bulls avoided their first three-game, regular-season losing streak in the Tom Thibodeau era. Carlos Boozer had another solid performance, scoring 12 points and grabbing 14 rebounds while Joakim Noah added 17 points and nine rebounds.

What it means: The Bulls needed this one to regain some confidence, and the players knew it. Having dropped two regular-season games in a row for the first time in almost 14 months, and having to play without Derrick Rose yet again, the Bulls wanted to do anything they could to get back on track. Deng made sure that happened. After struggling mightily on both ends of the floor in the first half, Deng stepped up his game and put the Bulls on his back. He scored 12 points in the 4th quarter, hitting several big shots down the stretch. The only concerning sign for Tom Thibodeau in this one is that The Bench Mob didn't give the Bulls the usual jolt they've provided throughout the year, but Thibodeau won't worry about that tonight. He's just happy his team got another win and played defense late in the game the way they've been playing all season.

Stat of the night: After scoring 17 points in the first half, Paul Pierce scored just five in the second half.

Bold play of the game: With his team up by six points and looking to lock up the game, Deng knocked down a jumper that gave the Bulls an eight-point lead it wouldn't relinquish.

What's next: The Bulls take on the New York Knicks Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden. Rose said on Thursday morning he would be playing 'for sure'. It will be interesting to see what Thibodeau decides.

Nick Friedell | email

Chicago Bulls beat reporter
Nick Friedell is the Chicago Bulls beat reporter for ESPN Chicago. Friedell is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and joined ESPNChicago.com for its launch in April 2009.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Derrick Rose
PTS AST STL MIN
15.9 4.3 0.5 31.1
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Noah 11.3
AssistsJ. Noah 5.4
StealsJ. Butler 1.9
BlocksJ. Noah 1.5