for this game

Bulls continue domination of Celtics

Mar 14, 2007 - 6:36 AM CHICAGO (Ticker) -- A year ago at this, time Tyrus Thomas was a freshman gearing up for a run to the Final Four. It's likely the Boston Celtics wish he was still in college.

A rookie out of Louisiana State, Thomas scored a season-high 23 points and the Chicago Bulls continued their domination of the Boston Celtics with a 95-87 victory.

Ben Wallace scored a season-high 19 points and had 16 rebounds and Luol Deng added 19 points and had six assists for Chicago, which improved to 18-3 at home against Eastern Conference opponents.

"I had some good looks. When our guards get double- and triple-teamed, you have to help," Wallace said. "I was open and tried to take the pressure off Ben (Gordon) and Kirk (Hinrich)."

The Bulls have now won eight straight over the Celtics and took control of this one in the third quarter.

Paul Pierce scored 24 points and gave Boston a 58-54 lead on a layup with 8:04 left in the third.

"They have now been together for a few years and we are still coming together," Pierce said. "They do a great job of running their stuff and executing."

Chicago responded with six consecutive points, including a dunk by Thomas, to start a 14-4 run. Thomas capped the spurt by splitting a pair of free throws with 2:54 to play in the third to make it 68-62.

"I was just focused on playing hard," Thomas said. "I can move around a bit, so it helps. I am getting better every game I play. Our guards played so well last game against them, they focused on taking them out of the game. This is what happens when you leave other guys open."

The Celtics did what they could to limit the damage by Gordon and Hinrich, and were relatively effective. The Bulls' backcourt duo combined for 26 points and were 6-of-16 from the field.

"I was proud of the guys in terms of effort," Boston coach Doc Rivers said. "I thought we followed our game plan to take Hinrich and Gordon out of the game, we did a great job of that. Anytime you can get Ben Wallace to take 21 shots and Tyrus Thomas 14, I will take that every night."

Delonte West and Al Jefferson each scored 19 points for Boston, which is winless against Chicago since January 29, 2005.

With little to play for except pride, Rivers told his team to treat the matchup with the Bulls as a playoff game. But even that showed how far the Celtics still have to go.

"I told this team to use this game as a playoff game since there will not be many opportunites this season," Rivers said. "Then twice coming out of timeouts, somebody forgets the play. In playoff games, every posession is huge. You can't make mistakes like that."

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