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Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012

Bulls down Celtics without star Rose


CHICAGO — The Chicago Bulls understand they'll be better off once Derrick Rose returns.

News photo
Hard to block: Boston's Kevin Garnett shoots over Chicago's Omer Asik in the first half on Thursday night. The Bulls beat the Celtics 89-80. AP

No need to rush, though. They keep winning even with their star sidelined.

Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng each scored 23 points, and Chicago escaped with an 89-80 victory over the Boston Celtics on Thursday night after blowing a 16-point lead.

It was hardly an easy night for the Bulls, but they won again even though Rose, the reigning MVP, missed his fourth straight game because of lower back pain.

"I think we're all confident in our abilities, but we know that we're not getting to where we want to get to without that guy," Joakim Noah said.

For now, they're getting by. It hasn't been easy the past few games, though.

The Bulls struggled early before going on a big run that gave them a 16-point lead in the opening minutes of the third quarter. Boston came roaring back and was up 61-60 early in the fourth after Chris Wilcox's alley-oop dunk, but a 12-point run broke a 69-69 tie and sent Chicago to its seventh win in eight games.

Deng had another big game, finishing with 10 assists after dishing out a career-high 11 and scoring 23 in Tuesday's win over Sacramento.

Boozer hit 11 of 15 shots and grabbed 15 rebounds, and Noah added 15 points and 16 rebounds.

Pacers 93, Nets 88

In Indianapolis, Danny Granger played through a sprained left ankle to score 32 points and helped struggling Indiana snap a season-worst five-game losing streak by beating struggling New Jersey.

Deron Williams scored 29 points and Kris Humphries had 24 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Nets, who dropped their eighth straight.

Clippers 74, Trail Blazers 71

In Portland, Blake Griffin had 21 points and 14 rebounds to help Los Angeles rally from an 18-point second-half deficit and beat the Trail Blazers.

Nicolas Batum and Jamal Crawford each scored 19 points for Portland in the loss.

Cummings honored


Oita HeatDevils forward T.J. Cummings is the Player of the Week in Japan, the bj-league announced earlier this week.

The big fellow had 31 points on 15-for-29 shooting, 18 rebounds and three assists in a Saturday win over the Iwate Big Bulls. A day later, he had 18 points, 13 boards and two assists. Oita swept Iwate.

Cummings, a UCLA product, is averaging 18.8 ppg and 10.1 rpg. His father, Terry, played in the NBA for 18 years, starting with the San Diego Clippers in the 1982-83 season — he was the No. 2 pick the '82 NBA Draft — when he was named Rookie of the Year.

The elder Cummings, now a Pentecostal minister, later played for the Bucks, Spurs, SuperSonics, 76ers, Knicks and Warriors in an 1,183-game, 19,460-point career that ended in 1999.

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