Boston, MA (Sports Network) – Paul Pierce hit the go-ahead layup off a pass from Rajon Rondo in overtime, and Boston beat the Chicago Bulls, 110-105, at TD Garden.
Ray Allen tallied 25 points, going 9-of-12 from the field, for the Celtics. Kevin Garnett added 16 points, 10 rebounds and three steals, one of which came in the waning seconds from behind as he tracked down Joakim Noah.
Glen Davis ended with 15 points for Boston, which won its fourth in a row.
After the game, Celtics coach Doc Rivers confirmed that Rondo likely has plantar fasciitis in his left foot.
“You could see he was good,” Rivers said. “The only thing we did and you could tell: we subbed him early. I think with five or six minutes in the first we subbed him. And then we did it again at halftime. And overall that may have helped him with his wind.”
Noah had 26 points and 12 rebounds for the Bulls, who had 20 turnovers, leading to 31 Boston points. Luol Deng had 20 points, while Taj Gibson and Derrick Rose each scored 18. Rose also had nine assists.
Deng drilled a pair of three-pointers in the final 2 1/2 minutes of regulation, the last one coming with 1:18 left to tie the game at 96.
Both teams had opportunities in the final minute. Garnett and Gibson each missed jumpers. Gibson then dove for the ball in Boston’s end after a turnover, giving Chicago a chance with 23.3 seconds left, but the Bulls never got a shot away.
“We wanted to get the last shot, they were crowding Derrick so we wanted to just get a shot and give us a chance to win the game,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “If they brought a second defender to make a play, it was a tough play, I haven’t seen it but it looked like Rondo made a good play, looked like there was some contact, could have gone either way, didn’t go our way and we have to do better next time.”
Rondo fed Pierce for the go-ahead bucket with 1:55 left in OT for a 105-103 lead. Davis made 1-of-2 foul shots, and Rose committed a pair of turnovers, one coming on an offensive foul,
Pierce returned the favor for Allen, delivering a bounce pass through the lane to the veteran guard for a jam and a five-point lead with 1:19 to go.
Deng tipped in a Kyle Korver short three-point try with 38.7 ticks left, and after Pierce was off the mark on a jumper, the Bulls had one last chance. Garnett, a one-time defensive player of the year, tracked down Noah from behind and tipped the ball away. That led to a pair of Davis free throws, sealing Boston’s second straight OT win.
The Celtics, who won at home over Milwaukee on Wednesday, trailed 23-19 after one quarter.
Chicago’s shooting went in the tank in the second, as the Bulls went 5-of-17. At one point, Boston had outscored the Bulls, 22-3, in the quarter. A Davis layup widened the margin to 41-26, and Boston carried a 49-38 lead to the locker room.
The Bulls clawed within 72-64 going to the fourth and eventually pushed to an 82-81 lead following C.J. Watson’s three-pointer midway through the final period of regulation. Boston then wasted a six-point lead with over three minutes left in the fourth.
Shaquille O’Neal (bruised right knee) missed his third straight game for Boston…Chicago held a 43-31 rebounding advantage…Noah made all 10 of his foul shots.