BOSTON (AP)—After only four road games, the Chicago Bulls have already matched their away-from-home victory total from last season.
Chicago, 3-1 on the road, finished 3-38 away from home in 2002-03.
“We’re road warriors, huh? That’s one hurdle we wanted to conquer this year and the guys have been real focused,” Bulls coach Bill Cartwright said. “I’m just really happy. I thought our guys were focused and carried out the game plan.”
The Bulls never led by more than seven points in the second half until Jamal Crawford capped an 11-2 run with a jumper and a 3-pointer that gave them a 76-65 lead with 9:31 left.
The Celtics responded with a 13-4 spurt, and Mike James made his sixth 3-pointer of the night with 4:12 left to pull Boston to 80-78. But Paul Pierce missed a fadeaway jumper, and the Bulls pulled away by going 9-of-12 on free throws down the stretch.
“I think Chicago played the type of game that deserves a win in the NBA,” Celtics coach Jim O’Brien said. “They played a tough-minded, very physical game.”
Rose started in place of Eddie Robinson after coming off the bench in Chicago’s previous two contests.
Not only did he spark the Bulls offense, he held Pierce to 14 points on 4-of-15 shooting.
“Paul Pierce is a great player. No one player can stop him. I just did a good job trying to contain him and make him work for every inch of the floor,” Rose said.
Chicago led 23-21 after the first period behind 12 points from Kendall Gill, who was 5-of-6 from the floor in the opening period.
The Celtics took their final lead of the night, 44-42, on a 3-pointer by James with 1:18 left in the second period. Rose responded with a 3-pointer on Chicago’s next possession, and the Bulls led 47-44 at the break.
James had 18 points and Pierce 14 for the Celtics, whose modest two-game winning streak was snapped.
According to Pierce, losing to the Bulls made it seem as though beating Indiana on the road on Tuesday night didn’t mean anything.
“It’s very disappointing to beat the best team in the East one night and then get beat by a team you should beat the next,” Pierce said. “We juststood around. We didn’t move the ball or pass the ball like we need to.”
Rose scored a team-high 17.3 points per game against Boston last season. … Boston fans saved their loudest cheers during pre-game introductions for Vin Baker, who hit the game-winning basket on Tuesday night in Indiana. … Bulls forward-center Tyson Chandler missed his third straight game with a bruised lower back. … The win was Chicago’s first of the seasonwhen scoring less than 100 points.