CHICAGO – Kirk Hinrich scored 23 of his 25 points in the second half and took a key charge late in the game to help the Chicago Bulls rally for the second time in less than a week to beat the Boston Celtics 100-94 on Saturday night.
With nine games left, the ninth-place Bulls (33-40) trail Philadelphia (33-38) by a game for the Eastern Conference’s eighth playoff spot. After hosting Indiana on Tuesday, Chicago has back-to-back games against the 76ers – at Philadelphia on Wednesday and at the United Center on April 8. The Bulls and Sixers have split the first two games.
The loss was a major blow to the 10th-place Celtics (30-43), who now trail Chicago by three games.
After hitting just two free throws in the first half, Hinrich scored 12 points in the third quarter as the Bulls rallied from an 11-point deficit to tie it at 74 going into the fourth.
Down 86-79 midway through the period, the Bulls went on a 12-0 run during which Hinrich scored six points.
His fadeaway in the lane tied it at 86 with 4:55 remaining and Hinrich gave the Bulls their first lead of the game when he drove the lane with 4:26 left. Luol Deng added a free throw and Hinrich scored another basket to make it 91-86 with 3:55 remaining.
Pierce hit two free throws with 2:59 left to end the run and pull the Celtics to within one with a basket with 2:33 left.
With the score 94-92, Hinrich drew a charge on Boston’s Tony Allen with 1:15 left that erased a tying layup.
Boston coach Doc Rivers, who already had one technical foul, waved his arm in disgust and argued with referee Sean Wright when Chicago’s Andres Nocioni was at the foul line 13 seconds later. Nocioni hit both free throws to make it 96-92.
Paul Pierce’s dunk with 34.5 seconds left made it a two-point game. But Tyson Chandler kept the Bulls’ possession alive after Hinrich missed a jumper, and Deng hit two free throws to make it 98-94 with 16.5 seconds left.
Cavaliers 106, Heat
CLEVELAND – LeBron James and Dwyane Wade even impressed each other.
The two young stars put on a show of dazzling dunks, drives and playoff-caliber hustle that awed fans, their teammates and a coach who witnessed the legendary battles between Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.
“People got a view of absolute greatness,” Heat coach Pat Riley said.
James scored 47 points and posted his 10th career triple-double, outdoing Wade and leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to their seventh straight win, 106-99 over the Miami Heat on Saturday.
Bucks 96, Pacers 89
MILWAUKEE – Michael Redd scored 20 of his 39 points in the third quarter and the Milwaukee Bucks set an NBA record with only two turnovers in a 96-89 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night.
The previous mark for fewest turnovers in a game was three, set seven different times.
Redd, who had 10 points at the half, shot 8-for-10 from the field, including 4-for-5 from 3-point range in the third quarter as the Bucks won their sixth straight game at home. The streak matches their longest of the season.
Milwaukee remained in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, taking a one-game lead over No. 7 Indiana.
Redd, whose career-high is 41 points, shot 16 of 29 from the floor to go with six rebounds as Milwaukee beat Indiana for the 10th time in the last 12 meetings at the Bradley Center.