Bulls edge Celtics

Boston's Paul Pierce shoots over Chicago's Luol Deng (right) and Carlos Boozer during the first half. The Bulls beat the Celtics by nine.



CHICAGO — Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng each scored 23 points, and the Chicago Bulls escaped with an 89-80 victory over the Boston Celtics on Thursday night after blowing a 16-point lead.

It was hardly an easy night for the Bulls, but they continued to pile up the wins even though reigning MVP Derrick Rose missed his fourth consecutive game because of lower back pain.

They struggled early before going on a big run that gave them a 16-point lead early in the third quarter. Boston came roaring back and was up 61-60 early in the fourth after Chris Wilcox’s alley-oop dunk, but a 12-point run broke a 69-69 tie and sent Chicago to its seventh win in eight games.



In Indianapolis, Danny Granger scored 32 points despite playing on a sprained left ankle and led Indiana past New Jersey.

The Pacers (18-12) ended a season-worst five-game losing streak, thanks primarily to Granger’s return. He missed Wednesday’s game at Cleveland and the final three quarters of Tuesday’s loss to Miami.

Deron Williams led the Nets with 29 points, and Kris Humphries had 24 points and 10 rebounds, but New Jersey (8-23) still lost its eighth in a row.


CAVALIERS: Center Anderson Varejao will need at least one month to recover from his broken wrist.

Varejao sustained a non-displaced fracture to his right wrist on Feb. 10 against Milwaukee. Cavs coach Byron Scott said Varejao will need 4-to-6 weeks to recover, and at this point, surgery is not necessary.



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