Bulls and Celtics face off after heavy losses

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January 12, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, United States; Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine (8) dribbles the ball as it is defended by Brooklyn Nets guard DeAndre’ Bembry (95) during the second half at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

After suffering significant losses, the Chicago Bulls and Boston Celtics will look to get back into the win column when they meet Saturday night in Boston.

Eastern Conference-leading Chicago was knocked out at home 138-96 by the Golden State Warriors while the Celtics fell 111-99 at home to Philadelphia, with both games taking place on Friday.

Bulls guard Zach LaVine came out against the Warriors with 8:28 left in the first quarter with a left knee injury. LaVine, who did not attempt a shot and was scoreless in four minutes, will not travel to Boston and will instead undergo an MRI scan on Saturday.

NBC Sports Chicago reported that LaVine left the arena on his own and told others he did not believe his injury was serious.

The Bulls were already without guard Alex Caruso (foot) and forwards Derrick Jones (bone bruise in right knee), Javonte Green (groin), Tyler Cook (ankle) and Patrick Williams (wrist).

“We’re struggling defensively,” Bulls coach Billy Donovan said. “With the number of guys we have, we’re going to have to try to put it all back together as best we can.”

Coby White scored 20 points off the bench and Nikola Vucevic had 19 points and 14 rebounds to beat Chicago in Friday’s loss. Bulls leading scorer DeMar DeRozan finished with 17 points and seven assists and Lonzo Ball had 15 points.

The loss was Chicago’s second straight and third in four games after its best nine-game winning streak of the season.

Boston comes home from a 111-99 loss at Philadelphia on Friday that wasn’t as close as the scoreline suggested.

After opening a six-point lead early, the Celtics gave up a 28-4 run to end the first quarter and never threatened afterward. Philadelphia led by a whopping 22 points in the second quarter and Boston was unable to shoot within single digits in the streak.

It ended a three-game winning streak for Boston, which had won five of seven games overall.

“We haven’t had one for a while. Bad game overall,” Celtics coach Ime Udoka said. “Overall, the slow start obviously doomed us there. I just wasn’t sharp on both sides of the pitch, but I consider that more of an aberration than the norm.

Jaylen Brown had a team-high 21 points and Jayson Tatum added 20 points and 11 rebounds for the Celtics. Boston’s All-Star duo entered the game averaging 51.8 points between them in their previous five outings.

Boston has played without starting guard Marcus Smart for the second straight game. Smart missed Wednesday’s tilt at Indiana with a right thigh bruise but was sidelined against Philadelphia in the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocol.

The Bulls and Celtics met once earlier this season, Nov. 1 in Boston, with Chicago coming away with a 128-114 win. Boston led 103-89 after three quarters before Chicago finished strong and edged the hosts 39-11 in the fourth quarter to secure the victory.

DeRozan finished with a season-high 37 points on 15-of-20 shooting and LaVine added 26 points with seven assists for the Bulls. Brown had 28 points and seven boards and Tatum and Al Horford each contributed 20 points for the Celtics.

– Media at field level

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