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Guards down: Celtics welcome Bulls to Beantown
(Sports Network) - Fatigue caught up with the Boston Celtics in their recent loss, which halted a season-best seven-game winning streak.
Following a day of rest, the Celtics will get back to work Wednesday with a brief stop at home versus the Chicago Bulls.
Boston had been 7-0 since All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo went down a torn ACL and was playing in the back end of two straight games Monday against the Charlotte Bobcats. The Celtics, who defeated a streaking Denver squad in triple overtime on Sunday, had a 91-90 lead late in the game at Charlotte.
The Bobcats, though, took the lead for good at 94-91 on a Ramon Sessions jumper with 25.7 seconds remaining and Boston missed its next three shots down the stretch. Kevin Garnett tallied 16 points and 13 rebounds, while Jeff Green scored 18 points off the bench for Boston.
"We're a great matchup team, and tonight we just couldn't get back to match up," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said after the first loss since Jan. 25. "And then we missed a lot of shots front-rim, which is typical with tired legs."
Paul Pierce, coming off a triple-double versus the Nuggets, finished with 13 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in defeat.
The Celtics, who are 19-9 at home and unbeaten in the last six tries there, lost another guard to injury as Leandro Barbosa left the game in the third quarter with a left knee problem. An MRI revealed a torn ACL for Barbosa, who is the third Boston player to go down this season, joining Rondo and rookie forward Jared Sullinger (back).
After the Celtics entertain Chicago at TD Garden, they will head back to the road following the All-Star break for a western trek against the Nuggets, Lakers, Suns, Blazers and Jazz.
Chicago is coming off a tough 103-89 home loss to the San Antonio Spurs, who did not have Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Stephen Jackson.
Nate Robinson led the Bulls with 20 points and has taken over the point guard position while former MVP Derrick Rose nears his return, which could be as soon as after All-Star festivities. Rip Hamilton and Carlos Boozer scored 16 and 14 points, respectively, for Chicago, losers in four of six games.
"I don't think we took them for granted. I just think they came out and played harder than us." Gibson said of losing to the short-handed Spurs.
In regards to the Celtics, Gibson added "We just have to keep pushing, let that one go, have a good practice tomorrow and get ready for Boston."
As for Rose, all signs point to his return in the upcoming weeks. He has been able to practice, make contact and even dunk on his surgically-repaired knee suffered in the opening round of last season's playoffs.
The Bulls will visit New Orleans in their first game after the break.
Chicago is 2-1 against Boston this season and posted a 100-99 overtime victory in Beantown on Jan. 18. Marco Belinelli's turnaround jumper with 3.1 seconds remaining in overtime lifted the Bulls, who have won nine of the last 13 games in this series. The Bulls had dropped eight of 10 at TD Garden.
02/13 10:49:35 ET
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