Jimmy Butler leads the way as Bulls edge Celtics 104-103

Brad Stevens

"We won this game", Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas said.

The Bulls win streak on TNT is improbably, just like it is improbable that one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference can't get past a lame duck like Chicago.

Butler's clutch foul shots capped a memorable duel with fellow All-Star Thomas in the NBA's final game before the break. A great defensive stop by Marcus Smart and the referee called a frightful call. "It's a bad call and it cost us the game. the bulls were even shocked'".

Since 2015-16, the home team has won every meeting between these two teams, with each game being decided by single digits (Boston leads 3-2).

Did Smart make contact? Yes. "As soon as he said that, the whistle blew and I looked and I saw him (Zarba) raise his hands". "I couldn't believe it, but he made the call, so I've got to live with it".

"You live and you learn", he said.

"They worked us over", Charlotte coach Steve Clifford said. "It was a roller coaster of emotions".

Usually mild-mannered Celtics Coach Brad Stevens was livid over the call, hurling an expletive at the officials. Also yes. This was one of those calls that could've gone either way, but with the game on the line, it was a questionable whistle at best. "Hopefully we can come back and build on these two wins". "We're going to get Avery Bradley and Jaylen Brown back; it'll take a few games to get acclimated, I think, but after that, the rest of March and April if we can remain healthy, you'll see what the potential of this team is".

Celtics limp home to face 76ers
The result was a 104-103 victory for the Bulls over the Celtics, who lost for only the second time in the last 13 games. On Thursday night, the Boston Celtics led the Chicago Bulls by one point heading into the final possession of the game.

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Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds in tonight's game against Chicago. The two free throws were the difference in Chicago's 104-103 win at the United Center.

"It was a big letdown", added Smart, who stripped Butler earlier in the final minute to keep the Celtics ahead at the time.

Isaiah fell four points short of crossing the 30.0 ppg mark Wednesday night, which would pass Larry Bird's franchise record of 29.9. The Celtics raced out to eight-point leads three times, including 22-14, midway through the first quarter.

In the locker room, most of the Boston Celtics did not look like a bunch of guys who had just gotten blindsided by a last-second call.

Kelly Olynyk had 17 points and Terry Rozier had 11 points off the bench for the Celtics, who got 10 points from Amir Johnson.

It gave the scrappy Sixers added motivation, and T.J. McConnell was more than willing to speak up following the game. He finished with 19 points on 8-for-13 shooting with eight rebounds.

Bulls: Host the Phoenix Suns next Friday night. But then Boston surged again, scoring seven straight as part of a 13-2 run.