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Hinrich, Gordon lead Bulls past Celtics

Mar 12, 2007 - 1:58 AM BOSTON (Ticker) -- Timely shooting by Kirk Hinrich helped the Chicago Bulls remain in a comfort zone.

Hinrich hit 10-of-16 shots and scored 26 points and Ben Gordon added 21 as the Bulls defeated the Boston Celtics for the seventh straight time with a 94-78 triumph.

Completing a four-game road trip with three victories, the Bulls (37-28) won for the eighth time in their last 11 contests and remained fifth in the Eastern Conference, 2 1/2 games ahead of the defending champion Miami Heat (33-29).

"(Winning on the road) was a big focus for us coming out of the break," Hinrich said. "We haven't been good on the road. Our home record has been good. We have been able to (win two straight on the road) and, hopefully, we can keep it going."

Leading, 66-63, Chicago received a fourth-quarter spark from Hinrich, who opened the period with a three-point play and added another with 10:08 to go.

Luol Deng followed with a pair of baskets and former Celtic Adrian Griffin capped a 14-6 spurt with a jumper to give the Bulls an 80-69 advantage with 7:31 remaining.

"We turned it over (a few times) during that one stretch and we were able to just calm down a little bit," Bulls coach Scott Skiles said. "Adrian calmed us down again and he made a couple nice passes. We hit a couple of threes and we were able to stretch it out."

"We couldn't make shots and they got free on some just terrible non-verbal (defensive) switches where I thought we did great all night (until that point) on taking them out of a lot of their stuff," Boston coach Doc Rivers said. "We just didn't talk. We didn't communicate."

Chicago closed the second quarter with a 17-7 run and shot 54 percent (19-of-35) from the floor in the first half for a 48-41 lead. Hinrich hit three jumpers and Deng made a pair of short baskets during the burst.

"We played a little sloppy on the offensive end," Hinrich said. "Fortunately, we were able to get enough stops and the momentum was enough."

Boston chipped away and forged a 55-55 tie on Gerald Green's driving layup with 6:39 left in the third quarter.

Gordon made 9-of-14 shots, Deng scored 17 points and Ben Wallace added 10 with 14 rebounds for Chicago, which shot 51 percent (38-of-74).

Green scored 15 points on 5-of-14 shooting and rookie Rajon Rando added 12 on 5-of-15 for the Celtics, who fell to 8-23 at home.

"Our defense really led to some open looks," Hinrich said. "It all comes down to our defense because when we get in transition, we can get teams out of position defensively and get some open shots, and we hit them."

Leading scorer Paul Pierce, who entered averaging 25.1 points, struggled from the floor, going 2-of-14 to score just eight points to snap a 12-game streak in double figures.

"I think it's that they play good team defense," Pierce said. "Once you beat your man, they pretty much have two great defensive players in Ben Wallace and P.J. Brown, a solid defensive player. They just overall look, as a defensive team, as one of the best in the league."

"(The media) is going to hype it up so Tuesday (Pierce) comes out fired up," Deng said of the second half of the home-and-home series. "We do a great job as a team. We really focus. I study Paul and he is one of the best players in the league."

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