Final

Regular Season Series (Game 4 of 4)

Series starts 1/8

Game 1: Saturday, January 8th
Celtics91Final
Bulls102
Game 2: Wednesday, January 19th
Bulls83Final
Celtics92
Game 3: Saturday, January 29th
Celtics101Final
Bulls97
Game 4: Friday, March 25th
Bulls94Final
Celtics86

Bulls 94

(36-31, 16-18 away)

Celtics 86

(38-31, 25-11 home)

Coverage: WGN

7:30 PM ET, March 25, 2005

TD Garden, Boston, MA

1 2 3 4 T
CHI 26 21 19 2894
BOS 29 23 20 1486

Top Performers

Chi: T. Chandler 13 Pts, 10 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 Blk

Bos: A. Walker 18 Pts, 12 Reb, 5 Ast, 2 Blk

Curry heats up for 16 in 23 minutes

BOSTON (AP) -- Eddy Curry helped the Chicago Bulls move up in the Eastern Conference standings and give the Boston Celtics something to think about with the playoffs approaching.

Curry scored 16 points in 23 minutes, Tyson Chandler added 13 points and 10 rebounds and the Bulls closed out their fourth straight win with a 14-4 run, beating Boston 94-86 Friday night.

The Bulls moved a half-game ahead of Cleveland for the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race, and also moved within a game of Boston for home court advantage in a possible first-round playoff matchup. The Celtics are 3½ games ahead of Philadelphia for the Atlantic Division title and the No. 3 seed.

"This is a huge win for us," Chandler said. "Anybody you feel you're going to face in the playoffs, you want to leave a statement. You want to leave something in the back of their heads."

After the Celtics tied the game at 84, Ben Gordon hit a 3-pointer with 2:49 left to give Chicago an 87-84 lead. Chris Duhon then followed with a pair of free throws and Chandler added a field goal to put the Bulls ahead 91-86 with 1:51 remaining.

Curry led the Bulls with six points and four rebounds in the final 8:34 after sitting on the bench in foul trouble for a 12-minute stretch. Curry's three-point play with 3:57 left gave the Bulls an 84-82 lead.

"Guys did a good job looking for me down the stretch," Curry said. "We knew that at any moment, we could have taken the game at any point. And I think we came and changed the game at the right time."

Pierce had a chance to pull Boston within two, but his 3-point attempt with 31 seconds left rimmed out and the Bulls made three free throws to pull away.

Boston shot just 5-of-26 in the fourth quarter and was outscored 28-14.

"It was definitely a letdown by us, but maybe we learned a lesson tonight about what we're going to have to do to win ballgames," Pierce said. "We have to play each possession on defense as if it were our last, and we didn't do that tonight."

Following the game, Celtics coach Doc Rivers met with the team's medical staff to discuss Gary Payton's ailing back. Payton played 34 minutes and scored 13 points, but Rivers suggested that, at the very least, Boston might have to limit the 36-year-old point guard's minutes the rest of the season and hope his back will be in better shape come playoff time.

"We're just going to have to find out more about his back," Rivers said. "But its becoming a concern. We don't know yet ... it's not anything great. I can just say that."

The Celtics lost their second straight and fell to 11-3 since reacquiring Antoine Walker on Feb. 24. Walker and Paul Pierce had 18 points each for Boston.

With the win, Chicago evened its season series at two games apiece. ^Notes:@ Eric Paitkowski started for the Bulls in place of Kirk Hinrich, who strained his left hamstring Monday night in Chicago's 105-91 home win over Atlanta. ... The rule giving the team with the better record home court advantage in the playoffs regardless of seed was enacted before this season.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
CHI
BOS
Points 94 86
FGM-FGA 34-78 (.436) 31-83 (.373)
3PM-3PA 5-17 (.294) 3-20 (.150)
FTM-FTA 21-30 (.700) 21-26 (.808)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 9-41 15-50
Assists 20 17
Turnovers 11 13
Steals 4 5
Blocks 5 5
Fast Break Points 11 7
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 23 (0/0) 28 (0/0)
Largest Lead 8 9

Top Performers

Chicago
Boston
Tyson Chandler Chandler
Points: 13
Reb: 10
Ast: 1
Stl: 0
Blk: 2
Antoine Walker Walker
Points: 18
Reb: 12
Ast: 5
Stl: 0
Blk: 2