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updated: 3/30/2014 11:11 PM

Augustin scores career high, Bulls win

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  • Bulls guard D.J. Augustin drives past the Celtics' Jerryd Bayless in the second quarter Sunday night on his way to a career-high 33 points.

      Bulls guard D.J. Augustin drives past the Celtics' Jerryd Bayless in the second quarter Sunday night on his way to a career-high 33 points.
    Associated Press

 
 

One epic NBA streak came to an end this weekend when Philadelphia finally snapped a 26-game losing skid.

Another streak was perilously close to ending Sunday night -- the Bulls' streak of strong performances following a loss.

That has been a trademark since Tom Thibodeau became head coach in 2010, and the Bulls were due for a better performance after losing at home to Portland on Friday.

But they had trouble shaking the Boston Celtics. It took a career-night from D.J. Augustin and one of the slickest crossover moves of the season to pull out a 107-102 victory over the Celtics at the TD Forum.

The Bulls are 16-1 in games following a loss since Dec. 21. Their lone two-game losing streak in that stretch was when they lost to New Orleans and Sacramento on Feb. 1 and 3.

"Our margin of error is not great," Thibodeau told reporters after the contest. "We've got to play with great intensity each and every night."

Augustin did his part, scoring a career-high 33 points. He hit 10 of 14 shots on the night, including 3 from 3-point range, and went 10-for-10 at the foul line.

"Even though we didn't play great defense tonight, we pulled it out and we know what we have to fix," said Augustin, who joined the Bulls in December after being released by Toronto.

After Boston's Jeff Green tied the score with an impressive turnaround 3-pointer, Augustin turned in his best move of the night. As Joakim Noah set a high screen, Augustin crossed over Rajon Rondo, slid to the left and drained a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:19 remaining to make it 99-96.

Green missed a 3-pointer that could have tied the score, and Jimmy Butler hustled after the long rebound and was fouled. Augustin hit 6 straight free throws to put the game on ice.

"I'm really happy that he's part of this team," Noah said of Augustin, according to espn.com. "As soon as he came in he fit in right away. He's a laid-back guy, quiet guy, but he's a (heck) of a competitor. Plays well in the big moment. We wouldn't be in this position right now if it wasn't for him."

During March, Augustin has averaged 16.6 points while shooting 45.5 percent overall and 40.3 percent from 3-point range.

His previous career high was 31 points against Philadelphia on Jan. 20, 2011. His next-highest scoring game was 29 against the Bulls about six weeks into his rookie season with Charlotte in 2008.

"I really don't follow that (career highs)," Augustin said. "Some of my teammates told me. It's a great accomplishment, but I'm glad we got the win."

All five starters for the Bulls (41-32) finished in double figures. Noah had a big night with 13 points, 13 assists and 8 rebounds. Butler had 15 points and Carlos Boozer added 14.

Boston (23-50) has dropped nine of its last 10 games, but during the first three quarters Sunday the Bulls never led by more than 4 points. They went ahead 93-87 with 4:35 left after a jumper by Augustin, before a trio of 3-pointers -- 1 from Rondo and 2 by Green -- tied the score at 96-96. Rondo led the Celtics with 17 points and 11 assists.

These teams will meet again Monday at the United Center. The Bulls remain 1 game behind Toronto for third place in the East and are 1 up in the loss column on fifth-place Brooklyn. They have nine games left in the regular season.

mmcgraw@dailyherald.com

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