Bulls roar past Celtics, 89-80

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Bulls roar past Celtics, 89-80

CHICAGO Can't beat the woeful Detroit Pistons at home, but can beat the best team in the East (Chicago) in Boston, and then take them down to the wire less than a week later on their turf?

The Boston Celtics continue their consistently inconsistent ways with yet another good, but not good enough performance in losing 89-80 to the Bulls Thursday night.

For the Celtics (15-14), it's their fourth loss in the last five games which came on the heels of them winning 9 of the previous 10.

After falling behind by as many as 16 points on Thursday, the Celtics fought back and eventually took a brief lead in the fourth quarter.

However, after a Ray Allen jumper tied the game at 69-69, Chicago went on a 12-0 run that proved to be too much for the Celtics to overcome.

Kevin Garnett, who returned to the lineup after missing one game with a hip flexor injury, had 18 points and 10 rebounds.

And Allen, who has been in a shooting slump lately, had a strong second half against the Bulls and finished with 12 points.

As for the Bulls, who continue to play without reigning league MVP Derrick Rose (back), Carlos Boozer had 23 points and 15 rebounds while newly-named All-Star Luol Deng had 23 points and 10 assists for the Bulls who came into the game looking to avenge a 4-point loss to Boston earlier this week. The Bulls (25-7) also got huge production from Joakim Noah who had 15 points and 16 rebounds.

The loss continues the kind of trend -- a losing one -- that the C's want no part of.

Unfortunately for them, things won't get any easier anytime soon.

They play at Detroit on Sunday -- the same Pistons team that beat them by 10 points earlier this week -- followed by road games in Dallas and Oklahoma City.

HOT SHOT: Luol Deng was the best all-around player on the floor Thursday night. His 23 points were impressive. But he also tallied 10 assists for his second straight double-double, as he tries to fill the void left by point guard Derrick Rose still being out with a back injury.

"With Derrick out, the ball is in Luol's hands a little more," said Bulls coach and former Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau. "Luol is a much better pick-and-roll player than you realize. He has good size, he has vision and he can score on the drive. I like having the ball in his hands."

IN-N-OUT: Paul Pierce got off to a great start and . . . nothing. After making his first three shots, Pierce only made 3 of his next 13 attempts before finishing with 14 points. Pierce's fast start with little afterward, was indicative of the kind of game it was for the Celtics' entire team.

"I thought we got kind of stagnant at times (offensively)," Pierce said. "They made their adjustments."

SUPER SUB: Mike James continues to make the most of every shot he gets to play with the Bulls. Chicago's game-changing run in the second quarter did not begin until James stepped on the floor. He finished with eight points along with playing tough defense on Rajon Rondo.

"I was shocked when Thibodeau called my name," said James, who was recently signed by Chicago to a 10-day contract. "You have to take pride on defense. You have to take pride on being able to stop somebody when you are on the court, understanding that Rajon is a very good basketball player."

The former Celtic, who is 6-foot-2, was determined to not allow Rondo (who is 6-1) to post him up the way he did other Chicago guards.

"I'm not going to let no one smaller than me post up," James said. "I'm not the biggest guard but I have some size on me. Guards have never posted me up and that's not something new that I'm going to start allowing."

TURNING POINT: Leading 84-78 with little more than a minute to play, Luol Deng hit a 3-pointer -- his sixth of the night -- to put the Bulls ahead by nine with 47 seconds left.

BY THE NUMBERS: 52: That would be the number of rebounds Chicago had, compared to 37 for Boston.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "They crushed us on the glass all game and that was the big difference."- Celtics coach Doc Rivers.

Brad Stevens podcast: "Only goal around here is a championship"

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Brad Stevens podcast: "Only goal around here is a championship"

Mike Gorman and Brian Scalabrine talk with Boston Celtics Head Coach Brad Stevens at Celtics Media Day about raised expectations for the upcoming season, how Al Horford will fit, can Isaiah Thomas build off an All-Star season, and how high are his goals. 

Plus, Kyle Draper and A. Sherrod Blakely discuss whether or not some critiscism could come Stevens' way if the Celtics doesn't perform well in the playoffs.

MORE PODCAST Isaiah Thomas: ‘Just getting to the playoffs in Boston isn’t good enough’

SUBSCRIBE Audioboom | iTunes | Google Play | Stitcher

David Ortiz 'guest edits' this week's Sports Illustrated

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David Ortiz 'guest edits' this week's Sports Illustrated

This week’s Sports Illustrated has been guest-edited by Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz, who is also featured on the New England regional cover with the headline “Designated Editor: Before He Retires Big Papi Takes Over SI.”

The cover shot is Ortiz stepping out of the dugout at Fenway Park, surrounded by his teammates and fans. In the issue, SI's Tim Verducci has an in-depth, candid Q&A with Ortiz on a range of topics in which Big Papi doesn’t shy away from questions about PEDs, his proudest accomplishments and biggest disappointments. 

This is the first time in the magazine's 62-year history that an athlete has guest-edited an issue. Ortiz was able to select the stories, including one on his friend, new Celtics free agent acquisition Al Horford, which explores the brotherhood of Dominican athletes beyond their major league dominance. Ortiz asked SI to look into what’s going on at Patriots headquarters, where his favorite NFL team is off to a 3–0 start. He called for an opus on Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez, whose life was tragically cut short last weekend, and who will have a lasting impact on those he touched. Finally, Seth Meyers, host of NBC's Late Night, and writer Michael Schur pay their respects to Ortiz.