Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 1/18/13
BOSTON -- Marco Belinelli quickly went from goat to hero in the closing seconds of overtime Friday night. Belinelli, guilty of too much dribbling and a bad shot with his team ahead by a point, hit an off-balance 14-footer with 3.1 seconds left to give the Chicago Bulls a 100-99 victory over the Boston Celtics. Jason Terry gave Boston, losers of the last two games of a season-high five-game homestand, the lead with a jumper with 12.5 seconds left before Belinelli scored after a timeout. The Bulls, still winning without star Derrick Rose and losing Luol Deng to an injury during this game, scored three points in the final 12.1 seconds of regulation, with Kirk Hinrich forcing the OT with a short jumper with 2 seconds left. That came after Joaquim Noah forced a jump ball in a tie-up with Paul Pierce and then won the tap. With no timeouts left, all the Celtics could get was a desperation heave from Courtney Lee as time ran out. Belinelli finished with 10 points, including his team's last four. Carlos Boozer led the Bulls with 19 points and 20 rebounds, Richard Hamilton scored 20 points and Noah had 14 points and 13 boards. 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. The Bulls, who have won four of their last five, are 2-0 in overtime games, while the Celtics fell to 3-2. The teams split two earlier games in Chicago, with Rondo scoring a then-season high 26 in a loss at Chicago last month. 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 (one over his average) in this one. The Bulls jumped to a 17-7 lead midway through the first quarter, but eight Chicago turnovers in the quarter allowed the Celtics to get right back in the game. The lead was six at the break and the Celtics got the deficit down to two 3:08 into the second half. Plenty of basket trading kept the Bulls ahead and they led by six after three quarters, but the Celtics tied the game on a Rondo drive with 7:03 left in the game. Notes: Rose, projected to return in late February, has been working out and Friday 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 contest. Celtics coach Doc Rivers revealed his guard suffered the rib injury during the game. ...Deng, injured in Wednesday night's overtime win at the Toronto Raptors, 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. Chicago is 12-5 at home and 11-1 against conference opponents. ... Rivers and former assistant and current Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau got together with the Bulls in town for Thibodeau's 55th birthday. "We went to dinner last night 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. ... New England Patriots running back Stevan Ridley was in the crowd and safety Patrick Chung was shown operating a TV camera.
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