Every night, it could be a different guy…..
This is the message that resonates within the Bulls locker room after victories such as the 100-99 overtime win over the Celtics on Friday in Boston.
As collective and prideful as a unit as any team in the league, the Bulls (23-15) believe that with the names on the roster, any player on the roster given the opportunity to produce can. ‘
Marco Belinelli turnaround jumper with 3.1 seconds remaining in the extra period and without any remaining timeouts, Courtney Lee’s long heave that rimmed off the backboard was the only look the Celtics were afforded.
Carlos Boozer finished with his 10th double-double in the last 11 games, with 19 points and 20 rebounds. Richard Hamilton scored 20 points in 33 minutes, easily eclipsing the 15-20 minute range coach Tom Thibodeau had placed on the veteran shooting guard after returning from a torn left plantar fascia eleven games ago.
Joakim Noah finished with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Jimmy Butler scored six of his 13 points in overtime.
Belinelli’s shot was more impressive considering his struggles against Toronto on Wednesday – as he missed a late-game opportunity in regulation on a bad shot falling away from the basket – and in Boston as his shot came after a wild three-point heave that hit the top of the backboard in the Bulls’ second to last possession of overtime.
“I know that’s a crazy shot,” Belinelli said. “The ball went in, but I didn’t play well. When I took the shot from the corner, that was a bad position for us. Anyway, forgot that, I scored the ball in the last seconds, we played good defense and we’ve got another one tomorrow, so keep going,”
While it was a remarkable shot considering the difficulty and his recent struggles, it wasn’t something that was drawn up as such.
“Well, there were a lot of plays in that game, but we’re just obviously happy that we found a way to win the game,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “And often times, that’s what happens. It’s the scramble play. (Boston’s) very good defensively. They take options away from you and you’ve got to go to counters, and you’ve got to be able to read, and you can’t freeze, and you can’t hold the ball. So, [Belinelli] bailed us out; big shot.”
The Bulls are now an Eastern Conference best 12-5 on the road.
Kirk Hinrich’s shot with 2 seconds remaining in regulation sent the game into overtime.
Butler scored six straight points in the extra frame before a Jason Terry three-pointer put the Celtics ahead 99-98, leading to Belinelli’s game-winning basket.
Rajon Rondo led Boston with 30 points.
The Bulls will return home to host the Memphis Grizzlies (25-13) on Saturday.