Celtics achieve close victory over Bulls
The Boston Celtics avoided another last-ditch loss against the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday when they eked out a scrappy 71-69 home victory in a low-quality encounter between two injury-ravaged teams.
Last month, Marco Belinelli sealed a 100-99 victory for the Bulls with three seconds left but his potential game-winning basket in the latest match-up was blocked, before Taj Gibson missed an attempted three-pointer as the clock ran down.
Kevin Garnett scored eight of his 12 points in the fourth quarter to help Boston overcome a six-point deficit and Brandon Bass added 14 points and nine rebounds to help the Celtics (28-24) grind out an ugly victory.
The injury absence of several key players was exposed in the stats column with both teams registering a measly 36 per cent success rate from the floor in their final game ahead of the All-Star break.
The Celtics will be without guards Rajon Rondo and Leandro Barbosa for the rest of the season while the Bulls have been unable to call on the services of Derrick Rose and Kirk Hinrich for the last seven games.
Belinelli had a team-high 12 points and Joakim Noah pulled down 16 rebounds to go with his 10-point haul for the stuttering Bulls (30-22), who have lost five of their last seven contests.