Noah guides Bulls past Celtics
Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Joakim Noah scored 10 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter as the Chicago Bulls pulled away late for a 94-80 victory over the Boston Celtics at United Center.
Up by one entering the final frame, the Bulls outscored the Celtics by a 23-10 margin the rest of the way to complete a home-and-home sweep of the clubs. Chicago posted a 107-102 win in Boston on Sunday.
The Bulls also received a game-high 22 points from Mike Dunleavy and 18 out of Jimmy Butler in the triumph, which moved Chicago into a tie with Toronto for third place in the Eastern Conference. Noah added 11 rebounds and Taj Gibson notched a double-double as well, finishing with 14 points and 11 boards.
Jerryd Bayless, starting in place of Rajon Rondo, tallied 18 points in the Celtics' 10th consecutive road loss. Brandon Bass also had 18 points to go along with nine rebounds.
Rondo was held out to rest his surgically repaired knee with Boston playing on back-to-back nights.
Despite the absence of their star point guard, the Celtics owned a 63-60 lead with 4 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter. However, a Dunleavy 3-pointer ignited a 9-0 Chicago run and the Bulls never trailed thereafter.
The game was still tight entering the fourth quarter, however, after Phil Pressey's three to end the third brought Boston within 71-70. The Bulls then proceeded to embark on a 17-2 spurt over the next 5 1/2 minutes that all but sealed the outcome.
Noah put up six points during the pivotal sequence, which Butler capped with a long 2-pointer that put Chicago up by a comfortable 88-72 count.
Boston whittled an early eight-point deficit down to 25-24 at the end of one quarter, then scored the first eight points of the second to forge ahead. The Celtics owned a 46-37 lead after Bass' dunk off a Pressey steal with 4 1/2 minutes left in the half.
Chicago then reversed the momentum behind an 11-2 run in which Dunleavy had five points, but went into the break down 50-48 after Bayless hit two foul shots with 1.3 second left in the second quarter.
Boston guard Avery Bradley did not play in the second half after aggravating a previous ankle injury ... The Bulls completed their first season sweep of the Celtics since the 2006-07 campaign ... D.J. Augustin, who deposited a career- best 33 points in Sunday's victory, had just four for Chicago but dished out 11 assists ... The Bulls went just 3-of-16 from 3-point range but scored 48 points in the paint compared to Boston's 30.
03/31 23:18:05 ET