Davis scored eight points in the final 5 minutes and Gary Payton
hit the go-ahead 3-pointer to help the Celtics end the Chicago
Bulls' five-game winning streak with a 101-97 victory Saturday
"This may be the best game we've closed so far," said Davis,
who finished with 24 points. "We got the stops when we needed it.
These guys have been playing good. We knew they were capable of
The loss gave the surprising Bulls a 13-3 record for January,
with two of those losses to the Celtics in what has become a
spirited and physical rivalry.
Boston got an emotional lift Saturday night when backup center
Kendrick Perkins was ejected after picking up a flagrant foul and
two technicals in the third quarter following hard fouls on
Chicago's Eddy Curry and Tyson Chandler. The Celtics trailed by 11
at the time.
"He really put some spark in this team when we down," Pierce
said. "I think he really ignited the run. He gave a foul that when
he got kicked out, it kind of emotionally gave us an edge."
Payton finished with 23 points. Pierce had 18 but shot just
2-of-12 from the field and needed a 13-for-17 showing from the free
Chicago rookie Ben Gordon matched a career high with 31 points,
25 in the second half to supply the Bulls with an offensive punch.
But the Bulls blew a seven-point fourth-quarter lead and
struggled running their offense down the stretch after floor leader
Kirk Hinrich fouled out with 6:29 left.
"I think it's a case of teams knowing our plays. Halfway
through the season everybody knows the same plays and we're still
trying to run them like the other team doesn't know them," Gordon
"We have to be sharper and more creative. You can't do the same
thing every time."
Chicago had 20 turnovers and missed 14 free throws.
"We can't blame the officials because we turned the ball over
and missed free throws," Hinrich said.
Davis' inside bank shot tied it at 97 with 2:03 to go.
After a Chicago miss, Payton hit a 3-pointer from the top of the
key to put the Celtics ahead to stay with 1:41 left.
Chicago's Luol Deng couldn't hit a 3-pointer and Chris Duhon
missed two free throws with 7.5 seconds to go.
"When we come down to the end of the game, I know that I'm
going to do something special to get them out of the game," Payton
Gordon hit a pair of 3-pointers and two floaters in the lane to
spark a 16-3 Chicago run that opened up a 13-point lead late in the
During the spurt, Perkins was ejected after receiving a flagrant
and then a technical foul when he knocked Chandler down as he drove
to the basket.
Moments earlier, Perkins and Curry had to be separated and each
were assessed technical fouls following a hard foul by Perkins.
Pierce, who had just three points and no baskets in the first
half, was 0-for-7 before he finally made a 3-pointer with 1:29 left
in the third quarter.
Pierce, averaging 22.2 for the season, missed all four of his
first-half field-goal attempts and finished with just three points
-- not scoring until he hit a free throw with 4:46 to go in the
He was coming off a 34-point performance in the Celtics' 128-119
loss to the Suns on Friday night.
Pierce also had 15 rebounds. ... Antonio Davis had 12
points and 14 boards for the Bulls. ... There were 62 fouls called
and 76 free throws shot. ... The Celtics activated forward Tom
Gugliotta from the injured list.