So that was pretty crazy wasn't it? Marco Belinelli hit an off-balance game-winner with seconds remaining in overtime to give the Bulls a thrilling 100-99 victory over the Celtics on Friday night. It was the Bulls' second straight win in overtime and their 14th straight when playing on the road on a Friday.
Belinelli's almost improbable game-winner came at the end of what appeared to be a disastrous possession. Joakim Noah got the ball at the top of the key and couldn't find anybody open before finding Carlos Boozer in the corner. Boozer then passed down to Belinelli, who nailed the fadeaway for the win. It was nice redemption for Marco, who struggled badly down the stretch against the Raptors and had a miserable possession just moments before.
The Bulls led for most of the night before pulling one of their patented fourth quarter collapses, only to see Kirk Hinrich hit a game-tying jumper with two seconds left in regulation. Hinrich's heroics were only possible because of a questionable jump-ball call that could have easily been a foul on Joakim Noah or Jimmy Butler. Hinrich's open look was lucky in itself, as it came off a strip of Belinelli driving the lane.
Butler played really well in overtime, scoring six points in the extra frame, getting open using great off-the-ball movement. However, the Bulls were in position to lose after Jason Terry knocked down a big jumper with 12 seconds left. But then Belinelli did his thing.
As mentioned, the Bulls led for the majority of the night. They got off to a nice start despite some sloppy play, with Carlos Boozer doing a bunch of damage in the early going. Boozer finished with a monster stat-line of 19 points and 20 rebounds, as he continues his 2013 renaissance. Richard Hamilton also played pretty well, scoring 20 points on 7-of-15 shooting. Hamilton did turn the ball over seven times, and it was part of a 21-turnover night for the Bulls. Of note though was the fact that Rip played 33 minutes, so so much for that minutes limit.
The Celtics were able to hang around all night despite rather off-nights from Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. And that was because our old friend Rajon Rondo was a beast. Rondo scored a season-high 30 points on 12-of-21 shooting while also handing out seven assists. Rondo's jumper late in the fourth quarter gave the Celtics a lead and appeared to give them a win before the craziness at the end of regulation.
While Butler did play well, the Deng injury is obviously still a pretty big deal. Lu re-aggravated his hamstring injury, and appeared to be in a lot of pain as he hobbled off the court. He went to the locker room and never returned, although he was diagnosed as questionable to return and not out. So hopefully that's a good sign and he won't have to miss a lot of time. It probably would be smart to sit him for tomorrow night's game against the Grizzlies, but I'm sure the Bulls will just have him warm up and he'll say he's fine and he'll play. Because that's what the Bulls do.
Anyway, this was another huge win against a quality opponent on the road. I'm not sure how the Bulls do it, but they keep pulling these games out. And we're getting closer and closer to the return of Derrick Rose. Not too shabby, Bulls. Not too shabby.