Bulls blow out Celtics, 108-85
Bulls win three straight
The Bulls Monday won their third straight game with a dominating performance and 108-85 victory over the Eastern Conference leading Boston Celtics.
The Bulls controlled the game from the outset, outplaying and out hustling the Celtics, virtually making them outcasts to their early out of the arena fans in the United Center.
The Bulls got a career high 23 points from Bobby Portis and 24 points from Nikola Mirotic, who made his first start of the season for the injured Lauri Markkanen. David Nwaba had 13 points, Kris Dunn had 12 points and Jerian Grant eight points and nine assists in a game that was uncompetitive in the fourth quarter as the Celtics emptied their bench halfway through the fourth. The Bulls had 55 points off the bench and were 12 of 29 on threes. They shot 48.1 percent overall and held Boston below 40 percent shooting.
The Bulls are 6-20. Boston is 23-6.
Markkanen suffered a recurrence of a minor back problem he had thus summer and in training camp. Markkanen missed three games in preseason with the back issue. The Celtics were without Kyrie Irving and Marcus Morris with injuries. Al Horford was tentative with a knee problem, but he started. After a slow start from both teams with the first eight shots missed, the Bulls rode Mirotic, who had 13 points. Boston took timeout after missing its first five shots and then went to lead 21-14 before Nwaba's energetic play combined for Mirotic and Portis got there Bulls within 29-28 after one. The Bulls then stunned Boston with a 24-2 run built around Mirotic and Portis for a 52-34 lead. The Celtics stabilized, but the Bulls led 56-42 at halftime with 30 points off the bench. Mirotic had 16 in the half and Portis 15.
The Bulls continued with rugged defense, Mirotic denying Al Horford as the Celtics tried to go inside and active play on the perimeter. The Bulls moved ahead by 15 early in the third. Boston cut their deficit to 11 as Horford got on the boards for a second shot. Dunn then answered with a driving bank shot and a Justin Holiday three put the Bulls ahead 66-50. The Bulls offense sputtered the rest of the quarter, but the defense remained vigorous as the Bulls took a 78-63 lead into the fourth quarter. Portis had 19 through three quarters. Boston inched back within 82-70 early in the fourth quarter with a defensive three-second call and driving score. Grant then was vital with penetration and passing for Portis and Mirotic jumpers for a 90-73 Bulls lead with 7:51 left. Grant's three with six minutes left gave the Bulls a 97-75 lead.
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