The Bulls beat the New York Knicks 88-86 on Monday to extend their overall winning streak to seven games, their longest since the 1997-98 team won 13 in a row late in the season.
Chicago, however, saw its run come to an end with a 92-83 loss to the Boston Celtics on Wednesday. The Bulls were trying to even their record this late in a season for the first time since 1997-98, Michael Jordan’s last season with the club.
Chicago held a 66-57 lead Wednesday, but Boston erased the deficit with a 12-2 run midway through the fourth quarter. The Bulls pulled within 84-80 before Boston’s Paul Pierce hit a field goal and knocked down four free throws for a 90-80 lead with 1:10 left.
Eddy Curry scored 26 points, Kirk Hinrich added 12 points and Tyson Chandler scored eight points and grabbed 14 rebounds for the Bulls, who held their opponent below 100 points for the 23rd consecutive game but shot just 35 percent (28-for-80) from the field.
“We couldn’t make our shots tonight,” said Chicago coach Scott Skiles. “We didn’t play poorly. We just had trouble putting the ball in the hole.”
Chicago is 12-9 at home and has won its last five games at the United Center. The Bulls haven’t won six in a row on their homecourt since a 10-game winning streak from Feb. 28-April 11, 1998, and are facing an Atlanta club that is 2-14 on the road this season.
The Hawks dropped their seventh straight road game Wednesday, falling 111-92 to the Miami Heat.
Atlanta trailed by just three in the third quarter, but Miami used a 23-7 run to turn the game into a rout.
“I am frustrated with our play,” Hawks point guard Tyronn Lue said. “We did not accept the challenge defensively tonight. We need to do a better job of helping each other defensively.”
Atlanta’s first-year coach Mike Woodson agreed.
“More than anything, it was our defense,” Woodson said. “They were able to penetrate the ball wherever they wanted to go and we were struggling to score. We cannot let our offense keep dictating our defense.”