The Celtics Bounce Back Against the Bulls

Thomas, grieving the death of his sister in a car accident last week, rejoined the team after spending time with his family in Tacoma, Wash. He scored 8 points in the third quarter, helping the Celtics regain control.

Jae Crowder finished with 16 points. Avery Bradley scored 15 and hit four of Boston’s 17 3-pointers.

“We weren’t coming here hoping to get a win,” Bradley said. “We knew we were coming here to win both games.”

The Celtics led by 18 after hitting 7 of 11 3-pointers in the first quarter and were up, 37-17, early in the second before the Bulls jumped back into it.

The Celtics’ lead was down to 44-43 early in the third when Thomas hit Horford for an alley-oop dunk and nailed back-to-back 3-pointers. Boston maintained a comfortable edge after that.

WESTBROOK TRIPLE-DOUBLES AGAIN Russell Westbrook scored 32 points in a triple-double, and the Oklahoma City Thunder held off the Houston Rockets, 115-113, cutting their deficit to two games to one in the first-round Western Conference playoff series.

James Harden scored 44 points for Houston, but just before time expired, he missed a 3-point attempt that could have won the game.

Westbrook also had 13 rebounds and 11 assists. It was his second straight triple-double and the seventh playoff triple-double of his career. Taj Gibson added 20 points, and Andre Roberson and Victor Oladipo each scored 12 for the Thunder, who shot 55 percent from the field.

The Thunder squandered a double-digit lead in the second half of Game 2, and barely hung on this time. They will host Game 4 on Sunday.

Lou Williams scored 22 points for the Rockets, and Ryan Anderson added 18.

The Thunder led, 65-58, at halftime behind 62.2 percent shooting. Westbrook had 14 points, 8 assists and 7 rebounds at the break, and he had more offensive help than in the previous two games.

Houston scored the first 9 points of the second half, including 6 from Harden, to go up by 67-65.

The Thunder regained momentum, and back-to-back 3-pointers by Roberson and Alex Abrines put the Thunder ahead, 86-76, with 3 minutes 30 seconds to play in the third quarter. Oklahoma City took a 93-83 lead into the fourth.

Houston closed the gap through the final period. Harden was fouled with 8.8 seconds left, and he made two free throws to cut Oklahoma City’s lead to 114-113. Westbrook went to the line with 8.4 seconds to play and missed one of his two free throws, giving the Rockets a chance before Harden’s final miss.

CLIPPERS GAIN AN EDGE Chris Paul scored 34 points, and the Los Angeles Clippers rallied for a 111-106 victory over the Utah Jazz, taking a two-games-to-one lead in the first-round playoff series.

The Jazz led for most of the game before Paul took over in the fourth quarter and powered a 15-0 run that gave the Clippers a 103-96 lead with 2:09 remaining. Utah never led again.

The win negated a spectacular night from Gordon…

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