The Celtics had to fight for their eighth win in nine games after blowing a 16-point lead to the Bulls in the fourth quarter. It was Jayson Tatum's 3-pointer with just over a minute left that held off the rally to beat Chicago 111-104 at the United Center Saturday night.
Tatum, who struggled offensively on 2-of-16 shooting against the Atlanta Hawks in an 18-point comeback Celtics win less than 24 hours before, hit 12-of-15 shots to score 28 points and grabbed 7 rebounds in the process.
"That's the good thing about this league," Tatum said. "If you play good or play bad, you need to forget about the last one."Gordon Hayward finished with 24 points, while Jaylen Brown added 19 and 7 rebounds for the Celtics on a second night end of a back-to-back. Enes Kanter notched his third consecutive double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds in 23 minutes off the bench.
Kemba Walker (illness) missed his second straight game and Boston committed 20 turnovers, as the Bulls made it interesting the last seven minutes of the final frame after they cut a 93-77 deficit down to single digits.
Zach Lavine led all scorers with a game-high 35 points, including going 5-of-9 from beyond the arc. Lauri Markkanen added 15 points for the Bulls, who finished with six players scoring in double-figures. Second year big man Wendell Carter Jr chipped in 11 points and 14 rebonds for Chicago.
The Bulls used a 15-2 run to cut the Celtics lead down to 95-92 with 7:21 remaining and it never got closer than that the rest of the way. Tatum hit a 3 to give Boston a 108-101 advantage with 1:06 left to play and LaVine missed a pair of free throws, plus a pull-up 3 before the Celtics handed the 13-23 Bulls their fourth straight loss.
Coach Brad Stevens spoke about how Tatum stayed aggressive throughout the game following a lack-luster performance the night before.
"I thought today, when he caught it, he didn't dance in the first half," Stevens said. "He caught it on the run and drove it to the rim and made a number of good plays. Got some finishes to go. Felt a little better about himself probably and then at the end made an incredible shot. That was really tough."The Celtics are now 25-8, as they'll look to win their fourth straight when they head to the nation's capital to visit the Wizards (11-24) on Monday night.
The Celtics shot 54.4 percent from the field and only took 19 3-point attempts, making eight of them. Boston out-rebounded the Bulls 52-45 and outscored Chicago 60-38 in the paint.
Picture used courtesy of NBA.com