NBA: DeRozan, Bulls snap Celtics' nine-game win streak

Chicago ended a four-game slide while improving to 2-1 against the Celtics this season. PHOTO: AFP

CHICAGO – The Chicago Bulls were on a bad losing run, while the Boston Celtics headed into their National Basketball Association (NBA) game in Chicago on Monday on an impressive winning streak.

The odds were in the Celtics’ favour, but the Bulls refused to back down, and that was key to their win.

Chicago, led by 28 points from DeMar DeRozan, eventually ended Boston’s nine-game NBA run with a 121-107 win at the United Centre.

Zach LaVine, who was frustrated to be pulled from the waning minutes of the Bulls’ loss to Orlando last Friday, scored 22 points.

“There’s a sense of urgency when you lose a game,” LaVine said.

“We all have that sense of urgency, individually and collectively as a team. You need to have that. You need to be a desperate team when you go out and play and get those wins.

“We’ve lost a lot in a row and they’ve won a lot in a row. I think we’re a really good team, but we go through little lapses or times where we play bad. That’s how fast the game can change.”

Chicago guard Goran Dragic suffered a left shoulder injury after a collision with Boston’s Sam Hauser but returned to the game in the second quarter.

Nikola Vucevic added 12 points and 13 rebounds for the Bulls (7-10) – who had also beaten the Celtics at home in October but fell to them in Boston on Nov 4 in the game that launched the Celtics’ streak.

At 13-4, the Celtics still own the best record in the NBA. Down by as many as 21 in the third quarter, Boston twice pulled within eight in the fourth quarter.

They were down by 10 with 4min 49sec to play, but LaVine drained a three-pointer and DeRozan passed to Alex Caruso for a reverse layup that pushed the Bulls’ lead to 116-101 with less than three minutes left and Chicago ended a four-game skid.

“I’ve acquired an infinite quantity of confidence in his offence and his potential to shoot the ball,” Bulls coach Billy Donovan said of LaVine. “He’s completed that by his total profession. He’s elite at it.”

Boston star Jayson Tatum scored 28 points, pulled down 11 rebounds and handed out seven assists in the defeat. Jaylen Brown added 25 points and seven rebounds.

While the Celtics found numerous ways to win during their streak, even when short-handed due to injuries, they could not overcome a poor display from three-point range – or Al Horford’s dismal 0-for-9 shooting night.

Boston shot 19-for-50 (38 per cent) from three-point range while the Bulls were 14-for-29 (48.3 per cent) from long distance. Chicago also wound up with a 51-38 rebounding edge.

“It’s tough to beat a team on their home court when they’re hitting shots and you’re missing shots that you normally make,” said Marcus Smart, who was back in Boston’s line-up after missing two games with a bone bruise.

Tatum, meanwhile, admitted that the Bulls deserved their victory because they simply had more desire to win.

“Just kind of a slow start for whatever reason and we should have known a little bit better that they haven’t been great recently,” he said. “They came out and played like they really wanted to win.”

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