It helped propel the Celtics to a mere 2.5 games behind the Eastern Conference-leading Cleveland Cavaliers. He game-winning jump shot attempt fell short as the horn sounded, but a late whistle from official Zach Zarba on a controversial foul call that sent the Celtics into a disbelieving frenzy - Thomas would later call it "horrible" - and Butler to the line for two free throws. He argued a foul committed on Marcus Smart in which the Boston guard initiated contact trying to get open on an inbounds play. "That's a bad call", Thomas said.
Isaiah fell four points short of crossing the 30.0 ppg mark Wednesday night, which would pass Larry Bird's franchise record of 29.9. "I couldn't believe it", Smart told reporters.
"It's big for us", Marcus Smart said, according to Murphy. "A rollercoaster of emotions". He has now missed 19 of the last 20 games. He was named the 15th captain in team history. "Home away, neutral site, whatever it may be: win".
Smart, his teammates and even typically unflappable coach Brad Stevens were all enraged by the call.
Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley (Achilles') will not play in the final two games prior to the All-Star break. If he did, that's certainly a foul, regardless of how much time is left on the clock.
Wade missed his third straight game Thursday against the Celtics.
The duo of Amir Johnson and Al Horford came out on fire, combining to hit their first eight shots from the floor. The Bulls were killing the Celtics on the offensive glass at this point, with a 12-3 advantage at the conclusion of the quarter. But if nothing else, Thursday night's outcome will just provide more motivation to a Celtics bunch still trying to prove themselves.
Chicago led 81-78 starting the fourth quarter, but couldn't hold the lead.
Butler's heroics included the fourth-quarter defensive assignment on the 5-foot-9 Thomas, the National Basketball Association second-leading scorer overall and its leading scorer in the fourth quarter. The Bulls would then go on an 11-3 run that lasted the next five minutes and allowed Chicago to build a 75-68 lead with three minutes remaining.
Through 57 games Jimmy Butler has battled through various injuries, silenced the outside whispers of trade talks, and met questions about his leadership inside the Bulls' locker room head on. His two free throws with 1:56 put the Celtics up, 101-98.
As for the Bulls, Hoiberg was pleased his team was able to enter the All-Star break with a pair of wins in hand.
After the game, Celtics star Isaiah Thomas blasted the referres for blowing the whistle.