BOSTON (AP) -- Jay Williams' NBA debut was starting to look a lot
like his NCAA finale.
The second overall pick in last June's draft missed four free
throws down the stretch in the Bulls' opener on Wednesday night,
but Trenton Hassell bailed him out with a pair of key 3-pointers to
lead Chicago to a 99-96 victory over the Boston Celtics.
"I could have done some things better -- obviously, the free
throws,'' said Williams, who was 0-for-5 from the line but finished
with 13 points, seven assists and seven rebounds. "It's part of my
Jalen Rose had 21 points and 12 assists for the Bulls. Hassell
scored eight of his 14 points in the final three minutes, twice
connecting from 3-point range to give Chicago the lead.
Paul Pierce scored 28 and Tony Delk had 23 for Boston. Antoine
Walker had 14 points and 11 rebounds, but made just one field goal
in the second half and shot 5-for-23 overall -- 1-for-10 from
Boston led 93-91 when Hassell scored off Williams' assist to tie
it with 2:59 to play. After a steal by Williams, Hassell made a
3-pointer at 2:23 to give Chicago its first lead since the first
Delk hit a 3 to tie it. With 1:30 left, Williams missed both
free throws with a chance to give Chicago back the lead.
Hassell hit another 3 with 60 seconds left to make it 99-96, and
Boston missed on several chances to tie it.
"A lot of guys make it to the NBA that you don't know about.
Trenton Hassell is one of those guys,'' Rose said. "That is
typical of the makeup of our team.''
Meanwhile, Williams missed another pair of free throws, these
coming with 8.8 seconds left and a chance to clinch it.
It was an all-too-familiar scene for Williams, whose missed free
throws played into three of Duke's four losses last year, including
one that could have sent the NCAA regional semifinals into overtime
in his final college game.
"I make free throws all the time in practice,'' he said. "It's
Still, the Celtics were impressed.
"He will be good very quick,'' Walker said. "He did miss the
free throws but he did other things well. He will definitely be a
The Bulls, who have not made the playoffs since 1998, are hoping
a young roster led by Williams will turn around their fortunes.
The Celtics open the season with higher hopes than any season
since the end of the era of Larry Bird, Robert Parish and Kevin
McHale. Last year's team made the playoffs for the first time in
seven years and went to the conference finals before losing to New
The Celtics led by as many as 13 points early in the third
quarter and had a 74-62 lead before Chicago scored eight
consecutive points. After cutting the deficit to two points in the
fourth and missing a half-dozen chances to tie it, Donyell Marshall
made a layup to make the score 91-all with 5:20 left.
Chicago forward Tyson Chandler was ejected from the game in the
third quarter after picking up his second technical foul.
Chandler was called for the first one in the second quarter
after arguing with the referees over a foul. In the third quarter,
he converted an alley-oop dunk and hung on the rim, screaming at
Celtics center Tony Battie as he landed.
The Bulls scored the first seven points of the game before
Boston tied it at 9. Pierce had 10 in the first quarter to stake
the Celtics to a 32-26 lead, and the Celtics led by as many as 10
in the second quarter before settling for a 51-45 lead at the
The Celtics put Kedrick Brown on the injured list with a
sprained right ankle. ... Pierce, who scored more points than
anyone else in the NBA last season, led the league in scoring in
the preseason. ... Walker missed his first five shots. ... Boston
beat Chicago in four out of five last year. ... The Celtics are
35-21 in home openers, having won 14 in a row from 1979-92. ...
Rose scored a career-high 43 vs. New Jersey on opening night last
season. ... Williams scored his first career NBA basket at 7:20 of
the second quarter.
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