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Belinelli's shot lifts Bulls in OT

The SportsXchange

BOSTON -- Marco Belinelli quickly went from goat to hero in the closing seconds of overtime Friday night, giving the Chicago Bulls their second road OT win in a span of three nights.

Belinelli, guilty of too much dribbling and a wild shot off the top of the backboard with his team ahead by a point, hit an off-balance 14-footer with 3.1 seconds left to give Chicago a 100-99 victory over the Boston Celtics.

"That was a terrible shot for us, so it's good to come back," he said of the mistake, which had to make the game winner that much more special.

The Bulls survived a playoff-type game to improve to 12-5 on the road, all without their injured star, Derrick Rose.

The game wasn't quite over after the shot, but the Celtics, with no timeouts left, could get only a desperation heave from Courtney Lee at the buzzer and suffered their second straight loss at the end of a season-high five-game homestand.

Jimmy Butler scored six of his 13 points in the overtime, and was also part of what may well have been the biggest play of the game. With Boston up by two as the game entered the final 10 seconds of regulation, Butler and Joakim Noah trapped Paul Pierce and Noah tied the ball up.

Noah then got the jump ball, the Bulls came down and Kirk Hinrich hit a jumper with 2 seconds left to force the OT.

Jason Terry hit a go-ahead jumper with 12.5 seconds left in the extra time before a Chicago timeout. The Celtics played strong defense, but Belinelli scored on a turnaround before being mobbed by his teammates.

"It's a good feeling, a really good feeling," he said.

Redemption.

"You know, often times that's what happens," said Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, whose team lost Luol Dang to a hamstring injury during the game but still moved to 11-1 on the road against the Eastern Conference. "He bailed us out. Big shot, big play by Jimmy and Joakim tying up Pierce at the end just to give ourselves a chance."

Belinelli finished with 10 points, including his team's last four. Carlos Boozer, who has been on fire, led the Bulls with 19 points and 20 rebounds, Richard Hamilton scored 20 points and Noah had 14 points and 13 boards.

"It was a dogfight," said Hamilton, whose team turned the ball over 21 times but yielded only seven points off the turnovers.

Garnett and Noah were hit with double technicals late in the chippy affair that produced 50 fouls.

Boston's Rajon Rondo scored a season-high 30 points before fouling out in the overtime. Rookie Jared Sullinger, who also fouled out in the OT, had 15 rebounds, while Kevin Garnett scored 13 of his 16 points after the third quarter. He played an unusually high 39 minutes.

"Down the stretch, got to win that game, before overtime," said Boston coach Doc Rivers. "You have to win those games. And we made a lot of little mistakes and they won the game. But they did make some unbelievable shots."

The Bulls, who have won four of their last five, are 3-0 overall in overtime games, while the Celtics fell to 3-2.

Playing without starting guard Avery Bradley (ribs), the Celtics trailed by 10 early and couldn't get the lead until late.

Deng, a game-time decision to play because of a right hamstring injury, gutted it out for 27 minutes but pulled up lame late in the third quarter and hobbled off. He came in averaging 17.8 points and 6.5 rebounds per game but had three points, one board and four assists in this one. He will be examined further.

Notes: Pierce passed former Celtics star Robert Parish and moved into 22nd place on the NBA's all-time scoring list. ... The teams split two earlier games in Chicago, with Rondo scoring a then-season high 26 in a loss at Chicago last month. ... Rose, projected to return from knee surgery in late February, has been working out and Friday took shot jump shots during the Bulls' shoot-around. ... Bradley, playing in his eighth game since returning from two shoulder surgeries, seemed reluctant to shoot Wednesday night after having his best offensive game in the previous game, revealing his guard suffered the rib injury in the game. He is day-to-day. ... Deng, injured in Wednesday night's overtime win in Toronto, did not take part in Friday's shoot-around but started. ... Celtics guard Leandro Barbosa, who started for Bradley but whose floor time was further cut by Bradley's return, told a radio station in native Brazil he wants to be traded. ... The Bulls open a four-game homestand against the Memphis Grizzlies Saturday night, while the Celtics visit the Detroit Pistons Sunday night. ... Rivers and former assistant Thibodeau got together Thursday night for Thibodeau's 55th birthday. "We went to dinner and the first thing I told him was, 'By the way, your team is pretty good without Derrick, that's No. 1,' " Rivers said. "But (Rose) is their best player and when you take the best player off a team, and they still do what they're doing, that says a lot about Thibs in my opinion. Obviously, the players, too, they can't do it without them, but (Thibodeau's) intensity and his belief that they are going to win, with a man down, I think has to spill over to them. And all he cares about is winning. And I think they feel that." ... Boozer had 36 points and 12 rebounds Wednesday night after putting up 20 and 13 the previous game and 15 and 10 the game before that. ... Patriots running back Stevan Ridley was in the crowd and safety Patrick Chung was shown operating a TV camera. .. The Bulls have won 14 straight Friday night road games.
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