CHICAGO — Al Horford scored 18 points, and Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder each had 16 to pace the Boston Celtics to a 104-87 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Friday night in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference playoff series.
With the victory, the Celtics drew within 2-1 in the best-of-seven series. Game 4 is Sunday back at the United Center.
Four Boston starters reached double figures. Avery Bradley scored 15 points and Terry Rozier finished with 11 off the bench to round out the balanced scoring attack.
Dwyane Wade led Chicago with 18 points and Jimmy Butler, who struggled from the field on 7-of-21 shooting, finished with 14. Robin Lopez finished with 12 points and Nikola Mirotic had 11.
Paul Zipser scored 10 points off the bench for the Bulls, who struggled offensively without injured point guard Rajon Rondo. He is out indefinitely with a fractured right thumb.
The Celtics broke the game open in the third quarter after the Bulls got to within a point with less than 30 seconds expired in the second half. But Thomas, who also had nine assists, hit back-to-back 3-point field goals to again widen the gap and extend the lead back to double figures.
Boston connected on 17 3-point field goals and had 34 assists on 41 field goals.
Boston led 44-41 at halftime. The Celtics led by as many as 20 points in the second quarter, but they connected on only 5-of-22 shots from the field as the Bulls nearly erased the deficit.
NOTES: A day after Celtics coach Brad Stevens hinted at lineup changes, F Gerald Green started for Amir Johnson with Stevens citing Green’s shooting ability, length and athleticism. … G Isaiah Thomas was “feeling better” after traveling to Spokane, Washington, to visit his family after Thomas’ sister, Chyna, was killed in a car accident last weekend. “It’s been a hard week, he’s had his ups and downs,” Stevens said. “I think going to Seattle was a good thing, but it was hard.” … Bulls G Rajon Rondo is out indefinitely after an X-ray revealed Rondo suffered a fracture in his right thumb. Rondo will wear a cast to stabilize a previous wrist injury and will be re-evaluated next week when the cast is removed. The injury was initially believed to be a bruise. “It was a shock when we got the call [Thursday] night,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. Jerian Grant started in Rondo’s place.