With Jimmy Butler and Mike Dunleavy out for the night, Chicago gave starts to Nikola Mirotic and Kirk Hinrich. This gave Coach Tom Thibodeau a chance to see Mirotic at small forward on both ends against a very able opponent in Jeff Green. The Bulls rookie won that matchup, if only because Jeff Green had a very bad shooting night.
The game was quite sloppy, especially in the beginning. Within seven minutes of the first quarter, the Celtics had committed seven turnovers, while the Bulls had five. Yet none of the teams were able to convert turnovers into points at that time.
Brandan Wright got the chance as the first big off the bench for the Celtics when Zeller had to go to the bench with two fouls after six minutes. In the first handful of games he has played for the Celtics, he has been buried deeper in the rotation. It didn't result in much more minutes for Wright, though.
Another Celtic who got a bigger role in the game than in the last handful of games was point guard Phil Pressey, who took over Jameer Nelson's spot in the rotation since Nelson was out with a sprained ankle.
The Celtics were able to take a 23-17 lead into the second quarter, mostly because the Bulls only hit six out of 28 shots in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Bulls hit a little bit more of their shots, but mostly, they got to the foul line a lot more than the Celtics and were able to turn the game around and take a 46-40 lead into the locker room. Pau Gasol had the height advantage over any of the Celtics players and had a double-double already at the break with 11 points and 12 rebounds.
After the Bulls moved to 52-42, the Celtics went on an 8-0 run ignited by Evan Turner, who scored six of those points. And Turner just kept going after that, creating most of the Celtics offense by himself for a long stretch. He even got a couple of buckets by posting up Kirk Hinrich.
Meanwhile, the Bulls starters, except Pau Gasol, kept missing most of their shots, and the Celtics were able to build an eight point lead. But when Aaron Brooks and former Celtic E'Twaun Moore subbed in for the Bulls, they pulled back and the game was even at 69 before the fourth quarter. The Bulls bench outscored the Celtics bench, 42-21, for the game.
Through the fourth quarter, the Bulls were in the lead most of the way, but neither team held more than two possessions advantage. At the end, the Celtics' Jared Sullinger made a put-back lay in with 2.6 seconds left to tie the game at 95. Aaron Brooks missed an open three pointer at the buzzer, and the game went to overtime.
In overtime, Chicago had the upper hand all the way, and the Celtics committed a couple of costly turnovers down the stretch. Chicago won, 109-104.
For the Celtics, Evan Turner scored 29 points on 22 shots while adding five rebounds and six assists but also seven turnovers. That is his highest scoring game as a Celtic. Sullinger had a very solid double-double with 16 points and 16 rebounds. Pau Gasol was the leading scorer for the Bulls with his 29 points. He also had 16 boards and five blocks. Aaron Brooks added some much needed scoring from the bench with his 19 points. Derrick Rose made some important plays down the stretch, but his shooting was still off. He had 12 points on 5-of-18 shooting.
The Celtics will have a much needed day of rest tomorrow and play again at home on Monday against the Charlotte Hornets. The Bulls also play Monday at home where they face the Houston Rockets.