CHICAGO — Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng each scored 23 points, and the Chicago Bulls escaped with an 89-80 victory over the Boston Celtics on Thursday night after blowing a 16-point lead.
It was hardly an easy night for the Bulls, but they continued to pile up the wins even though reigning MVP Derrick Rose missed his fourth straight game because of lower back pain.
They struggled early before going on a big run that gave them a 16-point lead early in the third quarter. Boston came roaring back and was up 61-60 early in the fourth after Chris Wilcox's alley-oop dunk, but a 12-point run broke a 69-69 tie and sent Chicago to its seventh win in eight games.
Taj Gibson's layup four minutes into the quarter started the decisive rally. Deng sandwiched a 3-pointer and layup around a free throw by Kyle Korver, and Boozer capped the rally with a pair of layups that made it 81-69, giving Chicago its league-leading 25th win.
Kevin Garnett scored 18 points to lead the Celtics.
Rajon Rondo had 17 points and eight assists, but had his difficulties with Mike James guarding him.
PACERS 93, NETS 88: At Indianapolis, Danny Granger played through a sprained left ankle to score 32 points and helped struggling Indiana snap a season-worst five-game losing streak by beating struggling New Jersey.
Granger missed Wednesday's loss at Cleveland and the final three quarters of Tuesday's loss to Miami because of the injury, and without him, the Pacers just weren't the same. The biggest questions heading into the Nets game were how long Granger could play on his gimpy ankle and how effective he would be. It didn't take him long to prove he was just fine.
Granger made 10 of 20 shots, 8 of 9 from the free-throw line and grabbed five rebounds in a game the Pacers desperately needed to win.
Deron Williams scored 29 points and Kris Humphries had 24 points and 10 rebounds to lead New Jersey, not quite enough to snap a skid that hit eight straight and is the longest for the franchise since an eight-game skid from Nov. 30-Dec. 14, 2010.
CLIPPERS 74, TRAIL BLAZERS 71: At Portland, Ore., Blake Griffin led the Clippers (19-9) with 21 points and 14 rebounds and Mo Williams added 17 points. For Portland (16-15), Nicolas Batum and Jamal Crawford had 19 points apiece.
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