Celtics outlast Bulls, 71-69

Celtics outlast Bulls, 71-69
February 14, 2013, 3:27 am
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BOSTON Boston and Chicago pride themselves on being grind-it-out teams that like to keep the score relatively low.
But you have to wonder if both teams were thinking more about their next Mai Tai's during All-Star break than going into the break with some momentum that a quality win could provide.
There's low scoring and there was Wednesday's slugfest -- and we stress the word 'slug' because that's about as quick as both teams scored points -- that ultimately ended with the Celtics winning, 71-69.
Once again Boston's "defensive stopper" Jason Terry came up with a huge play defensively -- seriously! -- in the final seconds to preserve the Celtics win when he blocked a shot with just a few ticks remaining on the clock.
It was Terry's defense in the closing moments of Boston's triple overtime win over Denver that helped preserve the game for the Celtics (28-24), who head into the All-Star break having won eight of their last nine games.
But this game was about more than Terry's defense or that of any other player specifically.
It was a hard fought, down-to-the-wire battle that was either team's for the taking when it counted most.
And it was the kind of win that provides a much-needed jolt of confidence for the Celtics as they try to continue finding ways to win despite being significantly undermanned.
As has been the case throughout this recent run, the Celtics got big games from their big-game players in the closing moments.
Both Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce had struggled most of the game with their shot-making, only to come alive in the fourth quarter.
Garnett had 12 points and 11 rebounds for the game, with eight of those points coming in the fourth quarter. His eight points in the fourth equaled the entire scoring output of the Celtics in the third quarter.
Pierce, who missed 10 of his first 11 shots, drilled a 3-pointer in the fourth that put the C's ahead 65-60.
Boston, which tallied its fewest points of the season, did not look like a team that would struggle to score considering how the game began.
After a slow start by both teams, the Celtics went on a 14-3 run to lead 20-9 in the first quarter.
Boston went into the second with a 24-15 lead, but the Bulls opened with a 17-6 run capped off by a 3-point play by Jimmy Butler to lead 32-30.
After a series of stops by both teams, Boston eventually went back ahead on a 3-pointer by Terry with 1:33 to play in the second quarter.
But the lead didn't last long as the Bulls took a slim 36-35 lead into the half.
The 11 points scored by the C's in the second quarter were a season-low that was previously 12 points, set against Milwaukee on Nov. 2.