Al Horford had 18 points and eight rebounds while Isaiah Thomas added 16 points and sparked a third-quarter rally as the top-seeded Boston Celtics beat the Chicago Bulls 104-87 on Friday night after dropping the first two games of their opening-round Eastern Conference playoff series at home.
The Celtics pulled away after a 20-point lead shrunk to one early in the third quarter and put themselves in position to tie a series that was in danger of slipping away from them. Game 4 is Sunday in Chicago.
Dwyane Wade scored 18 for Chicago. Jimmy Butler had 14 points on seven-of-21 shooting from the field, and the offense simply didn't click the way it had been, with Rajon Rondo out indefinitely because of a broken right thumb. Chicago shot 39% and committed 18 turnovers.
Thomas, grieving the death of his sister in a car accident last week, rejoined the team after spending time with his family in Tacoma, Wash. He scored eight points in the third quarter, helping the Celtics regain control.
Jae Crowder finished with 16 points. Avery Bradley scored 15, making four of Boston's 17 three-pointers.
The Celtics' lead was down to 44-43 early in the third when Thomas hit Horford for an alley-oop dunk and nailed back-to-back three-pointers. Boston maintained a comfortable edge after that.
The Celtics led by 18 after sinking seven of 11 three-pointers in the first quarter and were up 37-17 early in the second before the Bulls jumped back into it.
They had the crowd rocking in the closing minute of the half. Nikola Mirotic nailed a three-pointer, cutting it to 44-41, and pointed toward the sky. Wade then blocked Bradley's three-point shot, causing a shot-clock violation with 4.7 seconds left, before Butler missed a desperation three-pointer for Chicago as time expired.
Russell Westbrook scored 32 points while recording another triple-double, and the Oklahoma City Thunder held off the Houston Rockets 115-113 to cut their deficit to 2-1 in the first-round Western Conference playoff series.
James Harden scored 44 points for Houston, but he missed a three-pointer that could have won the game just before time expired.
Westbrook also had 13 rebounds and 11 assists. It was his second straight triple-double and the seventh playoff triple-double of his career. Taj Gibson added 20 points and Andre Roberson and Victor Oladipo each scored 12 for the Thunder, who shot 55 percent from the field.
The Thunder blew a double-digit lead in the second half of Game 2, and barely hung on this time. They host Game 4 on Sunday.
Lou Williams scored 22 points and Ryan Anderson added 18 for the Rockets.