Regular Season Series (Game 4 of 4)

Series starts 10/30

Game 1: Wednesday, October 30th
Game 2: Wednesday, November 6th
Game 3: Wednesday, November 27th
Game 4: Monday, December 16th

Celtics 83

(16-8, 6-4 away)

Bulls 94

(8-16, 7-4 home)

    7:30 PM ET, December 16, 2002

    United Center, Chicago, IL

    1 2 3 4 T
    BOS 23 14 19 2783
    CHI 24 24 19 2794

    Top Performers

    Bos: P. Pierce 37 Pts, 15 Reb, 5 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

    Chi: M. Fizer 20 Pts, 17 Reb, 1 Stl, 2 Blk

    Chicago wins for fourth time in five games

    CHICAGO (AP) -- Five years into their rebuilding project, the Chicago Bulls might actually have the makings of a decent NBA team.

    Donyell Marshall had 13 rebounds and 20 points, including a key 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter, as the Bulls held off the Boston Celtics 94-83 Monday night.

     Donyell Marshall

    Four players finished in double figures and three reached double digits in rebounds for the Bulls, who won for the fourth time in five games.

    "Winning is just like losing, it's contagious,'' said Jalen Rose, whose 24 points led the Bulls. "I think guys are getting excited about getting a few wins. Now we've got to find a way to ride this momentum."

    Don't be alarmed, but the Bulls are actually talking about the playoffs. And doing it with straight faces.

    At 8-16, Chicago is two games behind Atlanta for what would be the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference. It's way too early to sell playoff tickets, but the Bulls can be forgiven for getting a little excited.

    "The eighth spot is not saying a lot, but it's saying a lot for a team that hasn't been in the playoffs for four years,'' said Marcus Fizer, who had a big night off the bench, scoring 20 and tying his career high with 17 rebounds.

    The Bulls still have their issues, for sure. They shot less than 36 percent, missed 16 free throws and gave away 18 points on 22 turnovers.

    But on this night, somebody else's problems were worse. The Celtics -- an Eastern Conference finalist last year -- shot a season-low 33 percent and were outrebounded 58-46. The NBA's leading 3-point team was only 5-of-24 from long range.

    Paul Pierce had 37 points and 15 rebounds, but he was 10-of-28 from the floor and got 16 of his points on free throws. Antoine Walker was 2-of-12 through three quarters, though he finished with 16 points before fouling out with 2:18 to play.

    "It was difficult to lose this one, especially when we thought we were playing well and getting in a groove," Pierce said. "Every time we made a run and cut it to three or four points, they made a big 3 and that was the difference.

    They made the big shots, big rebounds and we didn't."

    The Celtics did show some life in the fourth quarter when Walker got untracked. After Pierce hit a 19-footer, Walker forced a turnover and scored on a fast-break layup.

    He scored on another driving layup and then hit a 3-pointer to pull the Celtics to 68-65 with 8:13 to play, the closest they'd been since early in the second quarter.

    The Bulls committed an offensive foul on their next possession, forcing coach Bill Cartwright to call a timeout. But the break didn't stop Walker, who came right back with a short jumper, pulling Boston within one, 68-67.

    But Marshall put the game away for good two minutes later, hitting a pair of free throws and a 3-pointer to make it 80-73 with 4:09 left. Pierce converted a three-point play with 3:02 to play, but Jay Williams answered back with his own 3, and Walker fouled out on the Bulls' next possession.

    Fizer made both of the free throws, and the Celtics didn't have the bodies to make another run.

    "We're finding ways to be disciplined when teams make a run," Rose said. "Guys are really starting to feel like we're going to find a way to win."

    The Celtics can blame their poor first half for this loss, especially the second quarter. They made just one of their first 12 shots and shot 17.6 percent. They didn't make a field goal until there was 4:31 left in the half, getting their only points until then on three free throws.

    "It's just one of those things," Walker said. "Sometimes you can't beat some teams the way you want to beat them. We'll be fine. We know how to figure out what went wrong, make adjustments and bounce back."

    Game notes

    Pierce's double-double was his fifth straight, a first in his career. ... The Bulls got another strong night from their bench, led by Fizer. "Our bench has been fine," Cartwright said before the game. "I'm more worried with how we're starting. When we start games, we come out of the blocks and lead that first quarter, we win those games." ... Having already faced each other four times in the first two months, the Bulls and Celtics have wrapped up their season series. Each team won twice.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 83 94
    FGM-FGA 29-87 (.333) 28-78 (.359)
    3PM-3PA 5-24 (.208) 8-19 (.421)
    FTM-FTA 20-25 (.800) 30-46 (.652)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 9-46 16-58
    Assists 20 16
    Turnovers 13 22
    Steals 12 7
    Blocks 3 9
    Fast Break Points 6 1
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 30 (2/0) 24 (2/0)

    Top Performers

    Paul Pierce Pierce
    Points: 37
    Reb: 15
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 1
    Marcus Fizer Fizer
    Points: 20
    Reb: 17
    Ast: 0
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 2