Bulls outlast Celtics in OT

Derrick Rose shoots jumpers during practice Friday in Boston. Tribune video by K.C. Johnson.

BOSTON — There's no way Marco Belinelli could have called this shot.

Two days after Luol Deng predicted his game-winner in overtime to Joakim Noah, Belinelli finished a broken possession by somehow sinking a 14-foot turnaround fadeaway with 3.1 seconds left that lifted the Bulls to a 100-99 victory over the Celtics, also in overtime.

With no timeouts, Courtney Lee's 26-foot, desperation heave in response didn't come close, allowing the Bulls to improve their road mark to 12-5, including an astounding 11-1 against Eastern Conference teams.

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"I know it was a crazy shot but the ball was going in so good for us," Belinelli said.

Bad for the Bulls was Luol Deng trying to play through the strained right hamstring he suffered before his game-winner at Toronto and coming up lame late in the third quarter. Deng reached for a pass from Joakim Noah on a fast break and immediately started hobbling, signaling for a substitute immediately.

He will be re-examined Saturday.

"I tried to take off and as soon as I pushed off, I felt a pull," Deng said. "It's swollen and painful. I tried to run in the hallway, but I had a hard time. The percentage (of playing Saturday) is very low."

Belinelli's shot vindicated a poor possession that featured him — with Kirk Hinrich fouled out for the second straight game — dribbling the entire possession and wildly forcing a 3-pointer that missed badly with 23 seconds left.

The Celtics took advantage when Jason Terry buried a 16-foot jumper over Marquis Teague with 12.5 seconds left.

"That was terrible," Belinelli said.

Jimmy Butler, who likely would start if Deng is sidelined, scored six straight points in overtime and finished with 13, one of six Bulls in double figures.

"Jimmy was terrific," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "He made hustle plays, gave us energy. He's not afraid of the moment."

Carlos Boozer's 10th double-double in 11 games pushed his Eastern Conference-leading total to 22 and featured a season-high 20 rebounds. Noah also had a double-double, pushing the Bulls' record to 13-2 since Boozer arrived when they do so in the same game.

Thibodeau played Richard Hamilton well past his minutes limit at 32 and he contributed a team-high 20 points as the Bulls survived a season-high 21 turnovers.

Noah and Butler teamed up for the play of the game, double-teaming Paul Pierce to force a jump ball with the Celtics up two with less than 10 seconds in regulation. Noah won that tip and Hinrich — after Belinelli nearly turned it over — calmly buried a 15-foot jumper with 2 seconds left to force overtime.

Noah and Kevin Garnett, whom Noah once called "a dirty player," battled throughout, drawing double technicals at one point.

"He's a helluva competitor," Noah said. "He's always on some bull(crap), just trying to throw elbows, cheap shots, trying to get you off your game. He has been doing this a long time. But it's all right.

"When we lose, I feel like he crosses the line. But since we've been beating their asses I'm cool with it."


Twitter @kcjhoop

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