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April 06. 2012 12:41AM

Celtics falter in Chicago, 93-86

CHICAGO -- Luol Deng scored 18 of his season-high 26 points in the second half and Joakim Noah had a big game as host Chicago dominated the second half and avoided its first three-game losing streak with a 93-86 win over Boston on Thursday.

Noah finished with 16 points and nine rebounds, Carlos Boozer added 12 points and 14 boards and C. J. Watson collected 15 points and eight assists for the Bulls, who were once again without star Derrick Rose.

The Celtics built up a 49-38 lead by holding Chicago to 34 percent shooting in the first half. But the Bulls were a different team after the break, attacking the basket and controlling the glass.

They began the third quarter with a 17-7 burst and took their first lead since early in the first quarter when Watson buried back-to-back 3-pointers to make it 61-58. Boston briefly got the lead back but Deng hit a pair of free throws to give Chicago the lead heading into the fourth.

Deng scored eight straight points for the Bulls down the stretch and Carlos Boozer dunked to cap a 10-4 run and make it 91-81 with 1:42 left.

Paul Pierce scored 17 of his 22 points in the first half to lead the Celtics.

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GAME NOTEBOOK: Boston G Ray Allen came off the bench for the first time since Dec. 5, 2002 ... The Bulls outrebounded the Celtics, 44-36 ... Rose (groin) practiced Wednesday and is scheduled to play on Sunday after missing 12 straight games ... The Bulls signed veteran PG Mike James for the rest of the season.


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