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Bulls late surge tops Celtics

Bulls move to 10-6 on the season

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By Sam Smith | 11.28.2014 | 2:33 p.m. CT

The Bulls with their regular starting lineup together for just the fourth time this season got big games from Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol in a 109-102 victory over the Boston Celtics Saturday. The Bulls moved to 10-6 on the season and close their long 15-day circus road trip in Brooklyn Sunday. The Bulls recovered from a 16-point first quarter deficit with a big second half start from Rose, who had 21 points and was team leader in plus/minus game rating. Jimmy Butler had 22 points and 10 of 12 from the free throw line. Gasol had 15 points and 15 rebounds and Noah came up with a game saving block on Evan Turner and then jumper to make it 106-102 with 24 seconds left to clinch the win. Noah had 15 points, 14 rebounds, six assists and six blocks.

This should have been the big post Thanksgiving excuse for the Bulls the way they started, lethargic and being outhustled, trailing 35-24 after the first quarter, the telltale tryptophan thwacker. Must have been the turkey; instead it was a dead bird of a start as the Celtics shot almost 60 percent in the first quarter amidst Bulls inactivity and frustration. Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau drew an early technical foul with Noah getting another early in the second quarter. The Celtics little guys with Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley and then a less little Evan Turner in the second quarter were beating the Bulls off the dribble with the help ineffective and scattered. The Celtics continued the onslaught into the second quarter in taking a 16-point lead as Brandon Bass added 11 off the bench. But the Bulls began to respond pushing the ball behind Rose and Noah on the boards to reduce the Celtics lead to 60-54 at halftime. Gasol working inside led the Bulls with 13 in the half, but was just five of 13 as several just rolled off the rim. Noah was on the way to a triple double with eight points, six rebounds and four assists while Rose added seven points and was the only Bulls starter to have a plus rating in the plus/minus at halftime. The Bulls then relied on Rose to get back into the game as Rose scored 12 points in the first four minutes of the second half with a pair of threes to tie the game at 68. But when Rose went out, the Celtics went on a 13-2 run and led 91-85 entering the fourth quarter.

Observations:

1. Derrick Rose is always someone to observe and while not exceptionally aggressive early, he looked natural and remains the Bulls best guard passing the ball and seeing opportunities. His scoring is essential as his 12 points to open the second half got the Bulls back in the game.

2. Joakim Noah looked much livelier with the extra time off after sitting out Tuesday in Denver. That sort of schedule might serve him best, especially the first half of the season. It was his best game of the season with defense, blocks and good shooting.

3. Active game from Nikola Mirotic, who seems to be gaining the confidence of coach Tom Thibodeau even more playing more in fourth quarter. Mirotic active on boards with eight rebounds and five blocks plus 13 points.