Celtics hold on, beat Bulls, 95-91

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Celtics hold on, beat Bulls, 95-91

BOSTON When Rajon Rondo is in full-blown attack mode, the Boston Celtics are tough to beat.

Facing the C's without your best player only made Rondo's chances - and the Celtics, for that matter - much easier to come by.

A fast start and a solid finish was just what the Celtics needed to escape with a 95-91 win over the Bulls.

Rondo, who struggled mightily in Boston's loss at Toronto, responded with arguably his best all-around game this season. He was in triple-double range down the stretch before finishing with a season-high 32 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds.

The Bulls were once again short-handed with reigning league MVP Derrick Rose out for the second straight game with a back injury.

Boston wasn't at full strength, either. The left shoulder injury that kept Jermaine O'Neal out at Toronto last week, once again prevented him from playing. And Brandon Bass' left knee had more swelling in it. According to coach Doc Rivers, Bass will be out for at least seven games.

That created an opportunity for Chris Wilcox to start. He responded well, finishing with 11 points and 9 rebounds.

And off the bench, JaJuan Johnson made the most of his added minutes. He had 12 points and 4 rebounds.

Boston's control of the game was very much in doubt in the game's final minutes.

After trailing by as many as 14 points in the fourth, the Bulls cut Boston's lead to three, 89-86, following a free throw by Luol Deng with 1:43 to play. But moments later, Paul Pierce responded with a 15-footer to make it a two-possession game.

Chicago continued to march on.

A pair of free throws by Deng cut the lead back to three. A Celtics turnover gave it back to Chicago, with a chance to tie. However, C.J. Watson's driving lay-up attempt was off, and was rebounded by Kevin Garnett.

The Celtics did their part to keep the fans on their feet, as Pierce made an errant pass that was stolen by Carlos Boozer. The Bulls immediately called a time-out with 27.6 seconds to play.

With the amount of time remaining and it being a 3-point game, there was little doubt the Bulls would be looking for the long ball.

That's exactly what they did, but Watson's 3-point attempt barely grazed the rim.

Red Wings' Vanek, Nielsen score in 6-5 SO win over Bruins

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Red Wings' Vanek, Nielsen score in 6-5 SO win over Bruins

DETROIT - Thomas Vanek and Frans Nielsen scored in a shootout, lifting the Detroit Red Wings to a comeback 6-5 win over the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night.

The Red Wings rallied from 3-0 and 4-1 deficits in the first period, and with 3:04 remaining in regulation, Gustav Nyquist scored to pull them into a tie.

In the shootout, Tuukka Rask and Petr Mrazek stopped the first shots they faced before Vanek scored for the Red Wings and Brad Marchand countered with a goal for the Bruins. Nielsen, who like Vanek joined the team last summer as a free agent, scored on the team's third attempt and Vatrano missed the net with a chance to extend the 1-on-1 duels.

The Bruins were dominant early before blowing a chance to keep Detroit at a distance in the Atlantic Division standings.

Stars, studs and duds: Celtics 'pummeled on the glass' by Knicks

Stars, studs and duds: Celtics 'pummeled on the glass' by Knicks

BOSTON – It seems to not matter whether teams go big or small against the Boston Celtics, rebounding remains a problem.

The Knicks proved that on Wednesday in handing the Boston Celtics a 117-106 loss which snapped Boston’s season-best seven game winning streak at home.

In the past, conversations regarding Boston’s rebounding problems centered around them playing against teams that just had more size and muscle in the frontcourt.

That was not the case against the Knicks (19-24) who out-rebounded Boston 57-33 despite playing smaller lineups than most of the Celtics’ past opponents.

“They were small tonight, so it’s not like that should’ve been a big excuse from a size standpoint,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “Not that you should ever get out-rebounded by 24. But we weren’t much different; in fact we were bigger for most of the game and we still got … we just got pummeled on the glass.”

When it comes to rebounding with a small lineup, often it’s just a matter of who wants the ball more.

And the Celtics (26-16) had to acknowledge on Wednesday that most of Wednesday night, it was the Knicks.

“They played harder than us, they out-rebounded us, they played more physical than us,” said Boston’s Isaiah Thomas. “You’re not going to beat anybody the way they manhandled us.”

Celtics forward Jae Crowder echoed similar sentiments.

“They wanted it more than we did,” Crowder said.

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Wednesday’s game.

 

STARS

Derrick Rose

It was very much a hot tub time machine kind of night for Rose, who looked very much like the dominant player who won the league’s MVP award in 2011. Rose led the Knicks with a team-high 30 points, 12 of which came in the fourth quarter.

Isaiah Thomas

While Thomas had yet another strong showing in the fourth quarter, this was one of those nights when he needed more help than usual. That said, he still led all scorers with 39 points, eight of which came in the fourth quarter.

 

STUDS

Willy Hernangomez

No player better personified the struggles Boston had on the boards all game, than Hernangomez. He came off the Knicks bench to score 17 points and grab a game-high 11 rebounds – four on the offensive glass.

Jae Crowder

There were a lot of things to like about Crowder’s play on Wednesday, especially his defense on Carmelo Anthony (13 points, 5-for-14 shooting). But Crowder also delivered on the offensive end, scoring 21 points on 7-for-13 shooting with five rebounds and an assist.

Mindaugas Kuzminskas

Another unsung hero for New York on Wednesday, he had 17 points on 6-for-12 shooting with six rebounds and two assists.

Jaylen Brown

It was a rough night for most of the Celtics, but Brown did provide a bit of lift when he was in the game. He finished with 12 points on 3-for-6 shooting to go with four rebounds and a blocked shot.

 

DUDS

Al Horford

This was one of those games that Horford would be wise to forget as soon as he can. He scored a season-low five points and shot just  2-for-14 which was the worst shooting game of his career.