Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo powered the Boston Celtics to an early lead, but the Chicago Bulls closed the gap at the end of the opening quarter and blew the C's out of the water in the second as they took a 44-35 lead entering halftime on Thursday night at the United Center.
Rondo, who scored eight points in the first quarter, finished the half with 10 points, three rebounds and three assists. Pierce scored the Celtics' first six points but only had two more points in the half to finish with eight. Kevin Garnett had eight points and four rebounds while four players scored two points apiece for Boston.
Joakim Noah has a game-leading 12 points and six rebounds for Chicago, which is shooting 38.5 percent. Carlos Boozer scored 11 and Luol Deng had 10 points. C.J. Watson, who started in place of the injured Derrick Rose, has six points.