JIMMY Butler sank the go-ahead free throws to cap the Chicago Bulls comeback from 10 points down to stun the Boston Celtics, 104-103, in a wild finish at the United Center on Thursday (Friday, Manila time).
Trailing 103-102, Butler got the foul on Marcus Smart while shooting a jumper and calmly sank the crucial charities with 0.9 seconds left to seal the come-from-behind win as Al Horford’s baseline jumper at the buzzer was way off.
The Bulls erased a 10-point deficit with a 21-9 second half start, taking a 73-67 lead with 4:48 to play in the third. But the Celtics managed to get within three, 81-78, heading into the fourth period.
Kelly Olynyk started catching fire in the fourth with nine early points before Terry Rozier and Isaiah Thomas scored on back-to-back possessions to cap an 8-2 run and help the Celtics regain the lead, 94-92, with 5:45 remaining.
Thomas steadied the Celtics in a see-saw battle with the Bulls down the stretch with six of his 11 fourth quarter points in the final three minutes, but Butler came up with a huge block on the Boston guard to give the Bulls another chance to retake control with 50 seconds left.
The Bulls, though, blew three chances to take the lead and Smart swiped the ball off Butler for a crucial steal. But Thomas’ triple sailed long, which set up the game-winning free throws by Butler.
Butler led the Bulls, winners of two straight games to improve their mark to 28-29, with 29 points. Bobby Portis had a season-high 19 off the bench, and Robin Lopez added 15 markers.
Thomas had 29 points to lead the Celtics (37-20), who saw their four-game win streak snapped. Olynyk scored 17 off the bench.