The Chicago Bulls and the Boston Celtics entered their contest Sunday afternoon at the “New Garden” with rosters that were depleted by injury. The Bulls were without All-Star point guard Derrick Rose who was suffering from back spasms; while veteran guard Richard Hamilton was on the sidelines with a bruised thigh. Boston would take to the court minus starting center Jermaine O’Neal with a banged up shoulder while the man who would normally take his place in the starting rotation Brandon Bass may miss the next two weeks due to swelling and inflammation in his right knee.
One member of the Celtics who had spent time on the shelf earlier this season appeared to be over the effects of the sprained wrist; Boston point guard Rajon Rondo as he would rack up a triple-double including a game high 32 points and led his team past their opponents by a final score of 95-91. The victory snapped a two game losing streak by the club including an embarrassing loss to the Toronto Raptors on Friday night. Kevin Garnett notched a double-double with 13 points in the win.
C.J. Watson did a nice job starting in lieu of Rose as he and forward Carlos Boozer led the team as each knocked down 22 points in the contest. Rondo would push the ball up the floor for most of the contest though and the visitors could not adjust as Boston would outscore them on fast break points by a margin of 33-7. The Celtics would hold a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter; however Chicago would get back to within three points of their hosts but would fall short of overtaking them.
The contest was tight for most of the period as the Celtics were on top 18-17 with just over three minutes to play. The home team would go on a 10-6 run down the stretch as rookie JaJuan Johnson drove the lane putting the ball up and in with 52 seconds remaining and his team would be on top 28-23 at the conclusion of the quarter.
Boston maintained their advantage throughout the second; however they would never really get that far ahead of Chicago as they would go up by six points and then the Bulls would cut their lead to 39-37 as Watson completed a layup with 4:16 in the period. Garnett would hit a mid-range jumper with 30 seconds left and the Celtics walked into the locker room at the half with a 48-43 lead.
Boston would again sprint ahead early in the third only to see the Bulls respond and get back in the game. Rondo connected on a pair at the charity stripe with three seconds and his team held the upper hand with the score 72-66 at the end of the period. The Celtics looked like they were on the verge of busting this game wide open with 5:07 left to play as veteran Chris Wilcox hit a mid-range shot giving his team an 86-72 cushion. The Bulls were not going to go down without a fight and they cut their deficit to just three points when Luol Deng hit two at the line with 1:23 on the clock making it a 91-88 affair. That would be as close as the visitors would get however as the Celtics held on for the win.
Rondo knocked down 32 points, dished off 15 assists, grabbed 10 rebounds and had 2 steals in the Boston victory. Garnett scored 13 points, 12 boards, 4 blocks and 3 assists while Johnson came off the bench with 12 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals, an assist and a block. Ray Allen and Wilcox each scored 11 points for the afternoon.
Boozer had 22 points, 7 rebounds and a steal while Watson also scored 22 points, 6 assists and 2 rebounds. Joakim Noah added 16 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal while Deng put up 10 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block and 1 steal. Boston now stands at 15-12 and they head to Auburn Hills as they will face the Pistons on Wednesday while Chicago has a record of 23-7 and they will host the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday.