Bulls, Marco Belinelli sink Celtics in overtime
BY JOE COWLEY firstname.lastname@example.org January 18, 2013 11:32PM
BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 18: Marco Belinelli #8 of the Chicago Bulls is embraced by teammates Joakim Noah #13 and Nate Robinson #2 of the Chicago Bulls after scoring the game-winning shot with 3.1 seconds remaining in overtime against the Boston Celtics during the game on January 18, 2013 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
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Updated: January 19, 2013 3:18PM
BOSTON — This time, it was Marco Belinelli’s turn.
Two days after watching Luol Deng play overtime hero by hitting a game-winner with 3.3 seconds left to beat the Raptors, Belinelli overcame two questionable shots down the stretch to deliver the dagger, lifting the Bulls to a 100-99 OT victory Friday at TD Garden.
“[Belinelli] was due for it,’’ Richard Hamilton said. “He came out and was aggressive, focused on just trying to make it, and he made it.’’
With a serious degree of difficulty.
While Deng’s was a thing of beauty, Belinelli’s had more of a bailout feel to it. In the previous two possessions, Belinelli continued his recent trend of taking questionable shots from questionable spots, but after Jason Terry made a jumper with 12 seconds left in the overtime to give the Celtics the lead, Belinelli wasn’t the least bit gun-shy. He nailed the off-balance 14-footer with 3.1 seconds left.
“I know it was a crazy shot, but the ball was going in, so it was good for us,’’ Belinelli said.
The Bulls improved their road record against Eastern Conference teams to 11-1 and their overall record to 23-15.
“Oftentimes that’s what happens,’’ Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. ‘‘It’s a scramble play, they’re very good defensively, they take options away, and then you have to go to counters and be able to read. You can’t freeze; you can’t hold the ball. [Belinelli] bailed us out, big shot.’’
Then again, if it wasn’t for a play at the end of regulation by Joakim Noah and Jimmy Butler, the Bulls never would have been in that spot.
Trailing by two, Noah and Butler tied up Paul Pierce with 9.4 seconds left to get the jump-ball call. Noah won the tip and gave it to Belinelli, who lost the ball in the lane. It happened to kick back to an open Kirk Hinrich, who made a jumper with two seconds left, sending the game into overtime.
“The big play was Jimmy and Joakim tying up Pierce just to give ourselves a chance,’’ Thibodeau said. “Sometimes you need that. The Celtics are playing good, and you have to earn the win. I thought that’s what we did.’’
Not without some collateral damage, however.
Deng left the game in the third quarter with the same right-hamstring injury that flared up in Toronto. His chances of playing against the Grizzlies on Saturday are small.
“Percentages are very low, but we’ll see,’’ Deng said.
Then there was the trading of elbows between Noah and Kevin Garnett that has been going on for years.
“He’s always trying to throw elbows, cheap shots, trying to get you off your game,’’ Noah said. “When we lose, I feel like he crosses the line. But since we’ve been beating [them], I’m cool with it.’’
Asked if he could ever be cool with Garnett, Noah said, “He wants to win. I want to win. I don’t think it will ever be cool.’’