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24-2 run helps Bulls past Irving-less Celts

The Sports Xchange

December 11. 2017 11:29PM
Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart drives on Chicago Bulls guard Kris Dunn during the first quarter of Monday's game at the United Center. (Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports)

CHICAGO — Nikola Mirotic scored 24 points in his first start of the season and Bobby Portis scored 23 as the Chicago Bulls won their third straight game with a 108-85 win over the Boston Celtics on Monday.

David Nwaba finished with 13 points for Chicago (6-20), which has not lost since snapping a 10-game losing streak on Friday with an overtime victory over the Charlotte Hornets. Kris Dunn also reached double figures for the Bulls with 12 points.

Al Horford led the Celtics (23-6), who played without Kyrie Irving, who missed Monday’s game with a quadriceps contusion. Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier each scored 13 points for Boston, which finished off the back end of a back-to-back. Aron Baynes also scored 10 points for the Celtics.

Mirotic started in the place of Bulls rookie Lauri Markkanen, who missed Monday’s victory with back spasms. Mirotic made his season debut on Friday after missing 23 games with facial fractures and a concussion sustained in a fight with Portis in practice in October. He finished the game by hitting 9 of his 14 field-goal attempts and was 3-for-7 from 3-point range. Portis also hit all three of his 3-point attempts.

The Bulls took control in the second quarter when they used a 24-2 scoring spurt to turn a four-point deficit into an 18-point lead. Chicago led 56-42 at halftime and never allowed its lead to drop under double digits during the second half.

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NOTES: Irving scored 16 points in Boston’s victory over Detroit on Sunday, but took a knee to his quad Sunday and experienced discomfort on Monday morning. ... F Marcus Morris missed his second straight game with a left knee injury. Coach Brad Stevens said the injury will be re-evaluated today in Boston. ... Horford, who had a knee-to-knee collision with another player Sunday, started despite being classified as questionable during the day Monday.