CHICAGO, Sporting Alert — Al Horford scored 18 and four Boston starters scoring in double figures in the Celtics’ 104-87 victory over the Chicago Bulls in Game 3 of the first-round series on Friday night.
Chicago leads the series 2-1 after winning the first two games in Boston.
Horford also grabbed eight rebounds, six assists and four steals, while Isaiah Thomas, still mourning the death of his sister in a car accident last week, added 16 points and nine assists on his return to rejoin his teammates, following a trip home after Game 2.
“I thought Isaiah was great,” said Horford.
“… He was very poised. I’m definitely proud of him, the way he’s been able to handle everything and the way he got it together and put [on] a great performance tonight.”
“I think it was good for him to go away and be with his family and come back with sort of a fresh start,” Celtics’ Jae Crowder said.
Crowder ended with 16 points and six rebounds for the Celtics, who are the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.
“That was our only goal for this game was (to) just get the win no matter what for us to have a chance to make it a series,” the forward said.
“You go down 0-3 and it’s really, really tough for you to fight back, but we just want to take it one game at a time and get this game and give ourselves a chance.”
Also making important contributions were Avery Bradley, who finished with 15 points, seven rebounds and seven assists and Terry Rozier, who scored 11 points off the bench in the win.
“I thought we got a lot of good contributions from a lot of guys,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said.
“I think we all know that we have to play better on Sunday if we hope to have a chance to win.”
Dwyane Wade scored 18 points to lead the way for Chicago, while Jimmy Butler added 14 points, but shot 7-of-21 from the floor with seven rebounds.
Starting point guard Rajon Rondo misses the game after the former Celtic player was ruled out indefinitely with a broken right thumb.
Robin Lopez chipped in with 12 points and six boards, Nikola Mirotic had 11 points and six rebounds, while Paul Zipser contributed 10 points and six boards off the bench for the Bulls.
Game 4 in the series in Monday in Chicago again.