What started (and largely proceeded) as an ugly, physical affair turned into a fun, crazy finish down the stretch.
After trailing for most of the night, Boston surged back in the fourth, re-claiming the lead, 86-84, on a Rajon Rondo jumper with 50 seconds remaining. Trailing 88-86 soon after, the Bulls earned—and won—a vital jump ball, which set Kirk Hinrich up for the shot that sent things into overtime.
Trailing by one with 19 seconds left in the extra period, Jason Terry's jumper—perhaps his finest moment as a Celtic—gave Boston the lead back, and appeared, for a moment, to give them the victory.
With little time on the clock, the Bulls ran a frantic, unorganized possession, the ball somehow finding its way into the hands of Marco Belinelli. Falling back somewhat accidentally, the Italian guard managed to gain his balance, rise up, and bury what turned out to be the game-winning shot.
The loss overshadowed a beautiful performance from Rajon Rondo, who finished with a season-high 30 points to go with seven assists. Jared Sullinger chipped in seven points and 15 rebounds in 38 minutes off the bench.
Chicago was led by the suddenly streaking Carlos Boozer, who tallied 19 points and 20 rebounds—six of which were offensive. Joakim Noah added another double-double with 14 points and 13 boards, while Richard Hamilton scored a team-high 20 points (to go with absolutely nothing else positive in the box score).
The loss, Boston's second straight since winning six in a row, drops the Celtics to 20-19, a half-game behind Milwaukee for the East's seventh seed.
Chicago advances to 23-15 with the win, maintaining a percentage-points lead over Brooklyn for the fourth spot.
Player of the Game: PF Carlos Boozer (CHI)
The oft-condemned Bulls forward continued to put critics in their place with yet another huge performance. With 19 points and 20 rebounds against Boston, Boozer recorded his impressive 10th double-double in his last 11 games.
Those haven't been baby double-doubles, either. His averages over that span are 22.3 points and 12.0 rebounds per game.
.If Boozer continues to play at an All-Star level—something he's undeniably done since the calendar turned to 2013—the Bulls may yet be able to ease Derrick Rose back into action
What's Next for the Bulls?
What's Next for the Celtics?
Boston packs up for a two-game road trip against Detroit and Cleveland. Given their precarious state of affairs, they can ill-afford to drop either of those easily winnable games.