Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 12/2

Game 1: Friday, December 2nd
Game 2: Saturday, December 17th
Game 3: Sunday, March 26th
Game 4: Saturday, April 1st

Bulls 106

(8-6, 4-5 away)

Celtics 102

(6-9, 6-5 home)

Coverage: CSNC

7:30 PM ET, December 2, 2005

TD Garden, Boston, MA

1 2 3 4 T
CHI 34 22 15 35106
BOS 28 20 28 26102

Top Performers

Chi: L. Deng 28 Pts, 9 Reb, 1 Ast

Bos: P. Pierce 43 Pts, 11 Reb, 5 Ast, 4 Stl, 1 Blk

Pierce scores 43 in loss as Bulls prevail in fourth

BOSTON (AP) -- Not even a 43-point performance from Paul Pierce could unnerve Luol Deng, Ben Gordon and the Chicago Bulls.

"It's an advantage that we've played in so many tight games," said Deng, who scored 10 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter in leading the Chicago Bulls to a 106-102 victory over the Boston Celtics on Friday night.

"Tonight we kept our poise when they went up by seven points with five minutes left, but we kept making jump shots."

The Bulls needed that composure after the Boston's Delonte West and Chris Duhon traded 3-pointers, giving the Celtics an 87-80 lead.

"We just said they had their run -- it's time for our run," Deng said.

Chicago then went on an 18-6 run that included 10 points by Deng and six from Gordon, including a dunk with 3:01 left, giving the Bulls a 98-93 lead.

Despite Pierce's 43 points -- his first 40-plus point performance since Dec. 13, 2003, at Cleveland when he had 41 points -- the Bulls did a nice job of silencing the rest of the Celtics, including Ricky Davis, who was held to 12 points on 3-for-11 shooting.

"Paul had a big night but we had a bunch of guys who had success in tonight's game and helped us in different areas," said Gordon, who added 20 points for the Bulls.

"(That) run down the stretch was sparked by our defense. Although they made a run, we didn't give up. We continued to play tough D and get stops. That's what won us the game."

Pierce scored 12 points to help the Celtics seized control near the end of the third period. In the fourth, the Celtics led by as many as seven before the Bulls rallied.

"It's a tough loss," said Pierce, who added 11 rebounds and five assists for the Celtics, who failed to win back-to-back games again this season.

"Anytime we blow a big opportunity, especially before a big road trip coming up, it hurts."

Andres Nocioni scored 16 points for the Bulls, who have won five of six. Duhon added 11 points, including four critical free throws in the final seconds, and finished with seven assists.

Gordon hit a 3-pointer at 4:28 to cut the deficit to two points, 91-89. Davis hit two free throws to give the Celtics a four-point lead, but a jumper by Deng and two free throws by Kirk Hinrich tied the game at 93-all.

Pierce kept it close down the stretch, hitting a 3-pointer with 16 seconds remaining to cut the deficit to 102-99.

"We didn't cover him very well," Bulls head coach Scott Skiles said of Pierce. "One of our problems so far is we're letting the best player on the other team get off on us and that's not what we did last year."

The Bulls led by as many as 15 points in the second quarter. Deng scored on a layup to give the Bulls a 51-36 lead. But the Celtics, who got 20 first-half points from Pierce, used a 9-2 run to close to within eight points, 56-48, at the half.

Game notes

Chicago's 34 first-quarter points were the most scored against Boston this season. ... The Bulls are 0-2 against Atlantic Division foes. ... The Bulls are the only NBA team without a 15-point per game scorer. Six players are averaging double figures. ... Rivers was ejected for the first time this season at 5:32 in the second quarter.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 106 102
FGM-FGA 35-85 (.412) 32-68 (.471)
3PM-3PA 9-22 (.409) 9-19 (.474)
FTM-FTA 27-34 (.794) 29-38 (.763)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 16-47 6-34
Assists 25 17
Turnovers 18 21
Steals 9 7
Blocks 5 9
Fast Break Points 8 11
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 29 (2/0) 27 (2/0)
Largest Lead 15 7

Top Performers

Luol Deng Deng
Points: 28
Reb: 9
Ast: 1
Stl: 0
Blk: 0
Paul Pierce Pierce
Points: 43
Reb: 11
Ast: 5
Stl: 4
Blk: 1