Bill Smith/Chicago Bulls

Bulls outlast Celtics, win in overtime

Bulls improve to 24-10 on the season

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By Sam Smith | 1.03.2015 | 9:51 p.m. CT

The Bulls Saturday staggered and then survived by going into overtime to defeat the Boston Celtics 109-104.

The victory gave the Bulls a 24-10 record and 10-6 at home as they won for the 12th time in the last 14 games.

Derrick Rose after a poor shooting game with five of 18 made a driving bank shot with the Bulls hanging onto a 105-103 lead late in the overtime. Pau Gasol with 29 points, 16 rebounds and five blocks scored four points earlier in the overtime and then Rose added a pair of free throws as the Bulls escaped with the win. Aaron Brooks added 19 points off the bench. Evan Turner had 29 for Boston.

The teams exchanged leads throughout the fourth quarter. Rose made a pair of driving baskets late in the fourth and Gasol added a free throw line jumper. But Boston after Taj Gibson made a crucial late block got a score from Jared Sullinger to tie and game. Brooks then missed a wide open three at the buzzer for a potential winner.

It was a slow start for the Bulls, though perhaps not surprisingly with starters Jimmy Butler (bereavement leave) and Mike Dunleavy (foot injury) out. The Celtics comitted eight turnovers coming in on a back to back, but still led 23-17 after one. The Bulls got a scoring boost from Brooks and Gibson and then Gasol in the post against the smaller Celtics “bigs.” Gasol would have 11 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks by halftime as the Bulls took a 46-40 lead despite nine turnovers and 33 percent shooting. Boston came back in the third quarter. Turner with 13 in the quarter was pivotal in a 25-7 run that gave Boston an eight point lead. Again, Brooks off the bench erased the Bulls lethargy to make it a 69-69 tie going into the fourth quarter.

Observations:

1. Pau Gasol continues to prove he’s probably the best center in the NBA with yet another double/double and moving up on blocks leader Anthony Davis as Gasol started the night third in the league. Gasol is fifth in rebounding.

2. While Joakim Noah isn’t as much of a factor in the offense with the return of Derrick Rose, Noah has continued to drive the team with his energy and by halftime had five offensive rebounds and three steals. Noah ended with 12 rebounds.

3. Aaron Brooks energized the team as a true reserve sixth man type with 19 off the bench and three three pointers. He provided the missing enthusiasm whenever he entered the game.