Butler lifts Bulls to 104-103 victory over Celtics

February 18, 2017
Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin goes up for a shot as Atlanta Hawks guard Dennis Schroder (left), defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game, on Wednesday in Los Angeles. The Clippers won 99-84. (AP Photo)
Indiana Pacers centre Myles Turner (left) shoots over Washington Wizards center Marcin Gortat (right) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, on Thursday. (AP Photo)
Boston Celtics' Isaiah Thomas (centre) goes up for a shot against Chicago Bulls' Doug McDermott (left) and Jimmy Butler (right) during the second half of an NBA basketball game on Thursday. Chicago won 104-103. (AP Photo)


Jimmy Butler and Isaiah Thomas should have plenty to talk about when they see each other in New Orleans this weekend.

Butler made two free throws with 0.9 seconds left, sending the Chicago Bulls to a 104-103 victory over Thomas and the Boston Celtics on Thursday night.

Butler's clutch foul shots capped a memorable duel with fellow All-Star Thomas in the NBA's final game before the break. Butler and Thomas both finished with 29 points and seven assists.

Butler was touched on the right elbow by Marcus Smart on a turnaround jumper as the horn sounded, drawing a foul. Butler calmly patted his elbow and then walked toward the line while an incredulous Smart danced up the court in disbelief.


Bad call


"He got a piece of the elbow," Butler said. "People are going to say 'Aw, he didn't foul him,' but he did. So at the end of the day they made the right call."

Said Thomas: "That's horrible when it costs you a game you should have won. That's a bad call."

After Butler's free throws, Al Horford air-balled a baseline jumper on the Celtics' last shot, giving Chicago (28-29) consecutive wins against Eastern Conference powers Toronto and Boston (37-20).

"I'm excited about these two wins over two very good teams," coach Fred Hoiberg said. "Hopefully, we can build off of these coming back off the break."

Bobby Portis had a season-high 19 points for the Bulls, who went 22 for 22 at the line. Robin Lopez had 15 points and eight rebounds, and Taj Gibson finished with 12 points and nine boards.

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