Chicago Bulls: Boston Celtics

Rapid Reaction: Celtics 71, Bulls 69

February, 13, 2013
2/13/13
9:26
PM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
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BOSTON -- Let's take a quick look at how the Boston Celtics earned a 71-69 win over the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night at TD Garden.

How it happened: Brandon Bass led the Celtics with 14 points and nine rebounds, while Kevin Garnett added 12 points and 11 rebounds in a game that had plenty of poor offensive execution to go around. Jimmy Butler had a solid night with 11 points and six rebounds, but it wasn't enough, as the Bulls couldn't take care of the ball and struggled to find an offensive rhythm all night. The Bulls have now lost four of their past five.

What it means: Tom Thibodeau is never happy when his team loses, but he will be especially disgusted after this game. That's because the Bulls turned the ball over 22 times and looked terrible offensively. Nate Robinson struggled getting the Bulls into an offense, and the Bulls couldn't figure out how to break Boston's defensive pressure. This game was ugly and will leave a sour taste in Thibodeau's mouth as his beleaguered team heads into the All-Star break. For all of his flaws -- and there are many -- the Bulls are missing Kirk Hinrich and the stabilizing presence he provided on the offensive end.

Hits: Marquis Teague gave Thibodeau some solid minutes in the first half in place of Robinson. He finished the game with five points and three assists in 20 minutes.

Misses: Carlos Boozer, Rip Hamilton and Luol Deng were a combined 10-for-30 from the field.

Stat of the night: According to Bulls Radio statistician Jeff Mangurten, the Bulls' 22 turnovers are the most in any game of the Thibodeau era.

What's next: The Bulls head into the All-Star break with a 30-22 record. They face the New Orleans Hornets next Tuesday night.

Despite history, Noah respects Garnett

February, 13, 2013
2/13/13
12:01
PM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
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Joakim NoahGregory Shamus/Getty ImagesJoakim Noah and Kevin Garnett have had some memorable matchups over the years.
BOSTON -- Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah has been critical of some of Kevin Garnett's tactics over the years, but he still respects the Boston Celtics forward.

"I think he's a hell of a competitor," said Noah, whose Bulls play the Celtics on Wednesday night. "I really respect him."

Noah's comments come on the heels of a 100-99 Bulls victory over the Celtics on Jan. 18 when Noah was critical of the way Garnett handled himself. While praising Garnett's competitiveness, Noah acknowledged that he feels Garnett crosses the line sometimes.

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Noah won't miss C's; ASG status uncertain

February, 13, 2013
2/13/13
11:13
AM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
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BOSTON -- Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah said he is "definitely" playing against the Boston Celtics Wednesday, but his status for Sunday night's All-Star Game is uncertain because of plantar fasciitis in his right foot.

[+] EnlargeJoakim Noah
AP Photo/Rick BowmerJoakim Noah has averaged almost 32 minutes a game since missing three games with plantar fasciitis.
"I'm feeling awesome," he said before Wednesday morning's shootaround. "I feel great. I wouldn't miss (the Celtics) for anything."

As for his status for his first All-Star Game, Noah is non-committal, saying he is just trying to focus on the Celtics game. Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said the decision to play Noah for Sunday's game in Houston would be decided by a group including Noah, the Bulls' medical staff and Thibodeau.

"Barring any unforeseen setbacks (he'll play)," Thibodeau said. "But he'll make a good decision. He's managing it fine right now and we'll see where he is before he gets to the game, but I think he'll be fine."

Thibodeau and Noah want to make a final decision on whether he plays in the All-Star Game after seeing how Noah performs on Wednesday.

"Jo will do what's right," Thibodeau said. "Obviously if he can play he should play. But we'll just take it day by day."

After missing three games, Noah has played the past three, averaging 7.0 points and 10.3 rebounds in 31.7 minutes a game.

Bulls forward Luol Deng hopes Noah will play in the game and is excited to get the chance to be with him on such a large stage.

"I'm looking forward to it," Deng said. "I'm not going to lie. I think I was excited last year, I'm excited this year. I think as you go on you represent the team and the city more than yourself, and I think Jo will realize that. It's a great honor to have and something you're going to look back later on and be excited about as an individual accomplishment but as of right now it's more of the jersey that you have one when you're playing."

With Deng out, Bulls 'step up by committee'

January, 19, 2013
1/19/13
2:11
AM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
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BOSTON -- The Chicago Bulls have been down the same road so many times during the past 2½ seasons that they've started to create a new path of their own. They don't need a map to find their way out of trouble; they just rely on old experiences for guidance.

When one of their stars goes down, they usually find somebody else to step up. That was the case again Friday late in the third quarter, when Luol Deng re-injured his right hamstring. Instead of panicking, the Bulls pulled together and found a way to pull out a thrilling 100-99 overtime win over the Boston Celtics.

How did they do it?

"We step up by committee," said Bulls forward Carlos Boozer. "That's always been our motto since we got together 2½ years ago. We step up by committee.”

“Everybody comes in and has to do a little bit more,” he said. “And if Lu has to be out, I know Marco [Belinelli]'s up for the challenge. I know Jimmy [Butler]'s up for the challenge. And the rest of us are, too. We do it by a collective effort."

Boozer should know: He continues to lead the charge. He racked up yet another double-double Friday night, with 19 points and 20 rebounds. But as he pointed out, it was Butler and Belinelli who stepped up when it mattered most.

Butler came in for Deng and scored 13 points, making several huge plays in overtime. It was exactly the type of performance his teammates knew he could handle and one that will surely give him confidence in the future.

"It was nice to know that my teammates have faith in me,” Butler said, “to give me the ball whenever I'm open and know that I can go down there and guard and come and back and score another basket. That's big for my confidence. To tell you the truth, in my head I was just like, 'Do what Lu does. Do what Lu does.”

That was a sound strategy ... and one Belinelli also perfected, just before game’s end. Like Deng did in Toronto on Wednesday night in overtime, Belinelli knocked down a jumper with a few seconds left in the extra period (which was significantly more difficult, considering he was falling down) that gave the Bulls a win.

Teammate Taj Gibson soaked Belinelli with a celebratory ice bath in the shower.

"If you make the game winner with this team, with the Chicago Bulls, it's a different feeling," the Italian guard said. "I feel like so happy right now."

The downside

The only damper on this night for the Bulls was the fact that Deng might be sidelined for a little while. Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau will be heavily second-guessed for playing Deng -- who re-injured the hamstring he hurt Wednesday -- if Deng has to miss an extended amount of time. But the Bulls still have confidence they can win even if Deng joins Derrick Rose on the injured list.

"If that's the case then, yeah, we do," Boozer said, regarding the prospect of losing Deng. "Unfortunately for our team, we've been here before; this isn't something new for us. We've had important guys out -- whether it be Derrick, whether it be Lu, whether it be Jo, whether it was me a couple years ago. So we have belief in our team that we can keep playing and we can keep winning."

Rip is ready

Thibodeau has repeatedly held veteran guard Richard Hamilton to a strict limit of 15 to 20 minutes of playing time since he returned from injury last month. But he let that go Friday night when Deng got hurt, and Hamilton delivered. In 33 minutes of play, Hamilton scored 20 points.

"It's crazy because after the third quarter, usually I'm done," Hamilton said. "But with Luol going out I was like, 'Man, it's probably a chance [Thibodeau] would put me back in the game.’ And [assistant coach Adrian Griffin] came out to me in the fourth quarter, he was just like, 'Hey, man, stay ready because coach is going to put you back into the game.’ It was just one of them things. We didn't expect it going into the game, but with the circumstances, with Lu going out, he put me back in."

Hamilton is ready to play even more minutes if Thibodeau decides to keep going to him in the near future.

"I can," he said. "That ain't a problem. That's just something that Thibs wants to do. That's one of the things that he talked about when I first came back. He asked me and I was like, 'Yo, I can play. I'm good.' And he was like, 'I'm going to keep your minutes ... whatever, whatever.' I was just like, 'Hey, whatever he needs me to do, that's what I'm going to do.'"

The last word

Thibodeau, on whether a win on the road over a team like the Celtics can help the Bulls find the consistency they've been looking for:

"I think that's a media thing. I don't think any one game is any more important than another. I think you have to play tough on the road. I think you have to be physically tough, mentally tough, you've got to play smart. But then you can't be looking backwards; we can't be thinking about the Celtics when we're getting ready for Memphis. We have to know Memphis. When that ball goes up [Saturday] night, we got to be ready to go."

Joakim Noah calls out Kevin Garnett

January, 19, 2013
1/19/13
12:00
AM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
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BOSTON -- Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett is still a dirty player, at least according to Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah.

Noah, who scored 14 points and pulled down 13 rebounds in a 100-99 overtime win Friday night, acknowledged that Garnett is still throwing "elbows," and "cheap shots" towards him during games. The pair were called for double technicals in the fourth quarter and were tangled up most of the night.

Read the entire story.

Deng game-time call vs. Celtics

January, 18, 2013
1/18/13
10:23
AM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
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BOSTON -- Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng is a game-time decision for Friday's game against the Boston Celtics because of a right hamstring injury.

Read the entire story.

KG, Fields relive glory days in Chicago

December, 19, 2012
12/19/12
4:59
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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Kevin GarnettCourtesy of McDonald's All American GamesKevin Garnett was special even in high school, and he and Ronnie Fields formed an imposing tandem.
CHICAGO -- Kevin Garnett's face lit up Tuesday when he saw a special visitor before the Boston Celtics' morning shoot-around.

It was former high school teammate Ronnie Fields. The reunion was 10 years in the making as their careers had gone in different paths since they last shared a basketball court, but as they threw their arms around each other it was apparent their friendship remained strong.

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Noah states his All-Star case again

December, 18, 2012
12/18/12
11:56
PM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers has been a Joakim Noah fan for years so it's easier for him to acknowledge what the NBA is learning this season.

Noah has developed into one of the best centers in the league.

Playing almost 40 minutes a night, Noah stuffs the box score in different categories every night. That was the case again Tuesday as Noah racked up his second career triple-double with 11 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists in a 100-89 victory over the Celtics.

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'Happy thoughts' pay off for Robinson

December, 18, 2012
12/18/12
11:19
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Playing poorly the last two games aggravated Chicago Bulls guard Nate Robinson, but playing poorly and not having fun truly upset him.

[+] EnlargeNate Robinson
Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesNate Robinson sparked the Bulls off the bench with 18 points, including five three-pointers.
On Tuesday, Robinson took a lesson from his favorite fairytale again and decided to act like Peter Pan against one of his former teams, the Boston Celtics.

"The last couple games I really haven't been shooting the ball well," said Robinson, who was 5-of-13 for 10 points in the last two games. "I just told myself I had to go back to my whole Peter Pan theory. You can't fly without happy thoughts."

With happy thoughts on his mind, Robinson didn't exactly fly Tuesday, but he did shoot the ball much better. He hit 6 of 12 shots, including 5 of 7 from 3-point range and scored 18 points in 21 minutes during the Bulls' 100-89 victory over Boston.

Bulls center Joakim Noah noticed the difference.

"He looked like he was having fun out there," Noah said. "And you know, when he's having fun, his energy's definitely contagious."

Robinson gets why he struggles and why he does well, and now it's just a matter of putting it into action.

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Rapid Reaction: Bulls 100, Celtics 89

December, 18, 2012
12/18/12
9:47
PM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Here's a quick look at how the Chicago Bulls cruised to a 100-89 victory over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night at the United Center.

How it happened: Joakim Noah earned the second triple-double of his career, scoring 11 points, pulling down 13 rebounds and dishing out 10 assists. Luol Deng added 21 points while Carlos Boozer had another solid night scoring 21 points with 12 rebounds. Nate Robinson was great off the bench scoring 18 points and giving the Bulls a major spark down the stretch. Rajon Rondo scored a game -high 26 points for the Celtics.

What it means: This was a solid win for the Bulls on a lot of levels. First, they outplayed the Celtics and outworked them. This would be impressive on any night, but even more so on Tuesday given that the Bulls were on the wrong end of a back-to-back. The best part for Thibodeau is that his go-to guys continue to bounce back after rough losses. Deng and Noah led the way one more time as the Bulls got contributions up and down the roster. Noah's performance will only strengthen an already strong case for a place on the All-Star team. He has taken his game to the next level this season and is more consistent than he's ever been.

Hits: Taj Gibson had a great game -- 13 points, five rebounds and four assists -- even better when considering he turned his ankle in the first half and played through it the rest of the game.

Misses: Kirk Hinrich continues to struggle. In 23 minutes he was 0-for-2 from the field.

Stats of the night: The Bulls had six players in double figures. They outscored the Celtics 48-36 in the paint.

What's next: The Bulls take on the New York Knicks on Friday night at Madison Square Garden.

Doc: Bulls' defense has returned to form

December, 18, 2012
12/18/12
1:23
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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Doc Rivers and Tom ThibodeauUS Presswire, Getty ImagesDoc Rivers said considering the change Tom Thibodeau faced, the Bulls coach is doing a great job.
CHICAGO -- Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers said Tuesday he's impressed with the job Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau is doing this season despite facing some adversities, especially being without Derrick Rose as he recovers from ACL surgery.

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'Improved' Bulls get another shot vs. Celtics

December, 17, 2012
12/17/12
11:46
PM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
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MEMPHIS -- Having already dropped a game to the Boston Celtics last month, Carlos Boozer is looking forward to getting some payback on Tuesday night in Chicago.

[+] EnlargeCarlos Boozer
Joe Murphy/Getty ImagesCarlos Boozer, who led the Bulls with 16 points and 13 rebounds on Monday, is looking forward to another chance against Boston on Tuesday.
"We've gotten better since that game," Boozer said of the Bulls' 101-95 loss to Boston on Nov. 12. "I'm sure they've gotten better, too. As the season goes along teams usually get better, but I feel like we've gotten better, we've improved and we're going to continue to improve. I think the biggest thing for us is to take advantage of our transition. We got too many turnovers in transition, and if we can capitalize a little bit more on the break that helps our half court offense a lot.

"We haven't been doing a great job of rebounding. That's one of our strengths we haven't been showing the last couple of games so get back to rebounding. And just keep fighting, man. We got a lot of fight on this team. We never give up, it don't matter what the score is, we're going to keep playing. (Tuesday) is going to be a dogfight; they're a very good team. We look forward to the challenge."

The Bulls have improved defensively since the first loss to the Celtics but will have to take care of the ball better. They committed 14 turnovers against Boston and turned it over 16 times against the Grizzlies on Monday.

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Rookie Marquis Teague takes step foward

November, 12, 2012
11/12/12
11:32
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- The only thing Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo and Chicago Bulls point guard Marquis Teague had in common prior to Saturday’s game was being former Kentucky players.

Before the game tipped off, Rondo was an established NBA star and veteran, and Teague, a 2012 first-round pick, had played 10 minutes in just two games. The difference between the two players was grand.

But by the end of the night, the two former Wildcats shared a bit more.

[+] EnlargeMarquis Teague
Mike DiNovo/US PresswireMarquis Teague scored five points in the fourth quarter.
Teague played a career-high 18-plus minutes, including the entire fourth quarter, hung with Rondo at times and helped the Bulls nearly rally from a 13-point deficit in the final minutes before they fell 101-95 at the United Center.

Plus, he gained Rondo’s respect.

“It's good confidence for a young player to be playing when the game's on the line,” said Rondo, who had 20 points, 10 assists, nine rebounds and five steals. “I think he played maybe the last seven minutes. That shows a lot of confidence with him and (Bulls coach Tom) Thibodeau. He’s a good player.

“He's a confident player. He's been a winner all his life. He won at Kentucky, so I don't think he shies away from confidence. He's ready when his name is called. He got to the cup a couple times, drew some fouls. For a player that young, your confidence just grows and grows.”

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Rapid Reaction: Celtics 101, Bulls 95

November, 12, 2012
11/12/12
9:45
PM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Let's take a quick look at how the Boston Celtics pulled out a 101-95 win over the Chicago Bulls on Monday night at the United Center.

How it happened: Rajon Rondo torched the Bulls with 20 points, nine rebounds and 10 assists as the Celtics did just enough to squeak this game out. Kevin Garnett added 15 points and Brandon Bass chipped in with 14 for Boston. Luol Deng led the Bulls with 24 points and 11 rebounds while Joakim Noah racked up 17 points and 11 assists. The Celtics simply executed better down the stretch in the final minute -- and the Bulls couldn't make their free throws when they needed them.

What it means: The Bulls' defense let them down in this one. They could not get a stop when they needed one and that is going to frustrate Tom Thibodeau to no end over the next few days. Led by Rondo, Boston pushed the tempo and controlled the game most of the night. The Bulls' offensive sets didn't have much rhythm to them and, aside from a furious rally down the stretch, they couldn't find much consistency on the offensive end of the floor. Deng and Noah were the bright spots once again, but they are usually the only two Thibodeau can count on night to night.

Stat of the night: This was the first time the Bulls have given up 100 points since an April 8 overtime loss last season to the New York Knicks.

Hits: While he is still hesitant to take jumpers, Bulls rookie Marquis Teague got some meaningful minutes in the fourth quarter. He will benefit from this experience as the year goes on -- especially if Kirk Hinrich has to miss more action because of a hip injury.

Misses: Taj Gibson and Deng missed four consecutive free throws in the final minute.

What's next: The Bulls head west to take on the Phoenix Suns Wednesday night.

Doc Rivers still faithful to Proviso East

November, 12, 2012
11/12/12
8:23
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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[+] EnlargeDoc Rivers
AP Photo/Jessica HillDoc Rivers keeps track of the continued success at Proviso East.
CHICAGO -- Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers may be 20-plus years removed from his playing days at Proviso East High School in Chicago’s western suburbs, but he’s still loyal to the program.

Prior to Monday’s game against the Chicago Bulls, Rivers was asked how he felt about Proviso East being back on the rise after reaching the IHSA Class 4A state championship last season. It was the first return trip to the finals since 1992.

“What do you mean on the rise?” Rivers said in a harsh tone. “They’re always on the rise.”

Rivers was only joking, but he does really still keep close tabs on Proviso East. And the Pirates, for the most part, have been one of Illinois’ most consistently successful programs. They’ve reached 14 state tournaments, won four titles and have produced past and present NBA players like Rivers, Jim Brewer, Donnie Boyce, Sherell Ford, Michael Finley, Shannon Brown, Dee Brown, Reggie Jordan and Steven Hunter.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Jimmy Butler
PTS AST STL MIN
21.9 3.3 1.6 39.9
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsP. Gasol 11.7
AssistsD. Rose 5.1
StealsJ. Butler 1.6
BlocksP. Gasol 2.0