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Celtics use big third quarter to beat Bulls

The Sports Xchange
December 24. 2017 2:24AM
Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving (11) gets fouled on his shot by Chicago Bulls guard David Nwaba (11) during the first half at TD Garden in Boston, Saturday, Dec. 23, 2017. (Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)

BOSTON -- The Boston Celtics hit Chicago with a 38-point third quarter en route to a 117-92 blowout of the Bulls on Saturday night that ended Boston's two-game losing streak.
The Celtics led by a point when Jaylen Brown hit a pair of 3-pointers to start and finish a 12-0 run over 2:49 early in the third quarter, breaking the game open and sending the Bulls (10-22) to their second straight loss after seven wins in a row.

The 38 points was a third-quarter high for the Celtics (27-9), who avenged a loss suffered in Chicago two weeks earlier.

Kyrie Irving, who didn't play in that first meeting, scored 25 points and dished out seven assists, and Brown, who missed the loss in New York with Achilles soreness, scored 20. Rookie Daniel Theis scored 10 points and grabbed a season-high 15 rebounds, rookie Jayson Tatum had 13 points, seven rebounds and five assists and Al Horford had posted 10 points, six assists and four rebounds.

Irving was 9 of 15 from the floor, including 5 of 7 from 3-point range. The Celtics were guilty of just six turnovers, a total even more impressive because most of the fourth quarter was garbage time and half the turnovers came in the fourth.
Bobby Portis, who burned the Celtics for 23 points off the bench in Chicago, came off the bench again and led the Bulls with 17 points. Justin Holiday and Lauri Markkanen had 12 apiece, David Nwaba scored 11 and Jerian Grant 10 in the loss.

The Bulls didn't help their cause by going 17 of 25 from the foul line.

NOTES: Chicago G Jerian Grant ended the third quarter by hitting a scoop shot from his knees after falling in the lane. ... Boston G Shane Larkin (knee), who missed Thursday's game in New York, was considered a game-time decision. He was on the bench but didn't play. ... Celtics coach Brad Stevens on the Bulls: "The last 10 games they've been unbelievable. Like, they've been fun to watch." ... While the Bulls are off until they visit Milwaukee Tuesday night, the Celtics play at home on Christmas Day for the first time when the Washington Wizards visit. It will be the first meeting between the bitter rivals since last year's seven-game playoff series.