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Brad Stevens was livid about foul call on Marcus Smart

Brad Stevens was livid about foul call on Marcus Smart

JIMMY Butler sank the go-ahead free throws to cap the Chicago Bulls comeback from 10 points down to stun the Boston Celtics, 104-103, in a wild finish at the United Center on Thursday (Friday, Manila time). "He got a piece of the elbow", he said.

However, the baseline referee called a foul on Smart, believing he hit Butler on the arm. With the All-Star break upon them, the Bulls sit at 28-29, alone in seventh place in the East, a game ahead of eighth-place Pistons and two games ahead of the ninth-place Bucks. And it was he who defended Al Horford's shot at the buzzer that missed long and sealed the Bulls' victory in the NBA's final game before the All-Star break. Thomas gave his stamp of approval on the current roster, but Celtics fans know that Ainge never sleeps and if he can make the team better, he'll push sentimentality aside and make a deal. The next trip down Butler also closed out on Thomas' left wing 3-pointer which was off the mark and set up the Bulls' game winning possession.

Monday night, spurred by a guarantee of victory by Charlotte's Nicolas Batum, the suddenly competitive Sixers won their third game in a row, winning at Charlotte.

On the whole, Boston was the more polished offensive team Thursday as it shot 46.8 percent from the field and 37.8 percent from three.

"I saw the ball, and went after the ball", Smart said about the play. Marcus Smart also had a big game with 21 points, five rebounds, five assists and a career-high eight steals. In their last two games at home, the Bulls are 2-0 SU and ATS. The same was true in another close game with the 76ers. "We're down a couple of bodies, and he is playing at a high level on both ends of the floor".

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Instead, the final sequence will be replayed ad nauseam heading into All-Star weekend and the whistle will get a second life when the league's two-minute report is released Friday afternoon.

"Marcus has had a really good run here", Stevens said Thursday. Rajon Rondo scored zero points but added some key assists and boards off the bench with eight and seven, respectively. "The dude is a hell of a player", Butler explained the need of appreciating other team's player. That ship may have sailed on the Celtics with the recent trade between Toronto and Orlando involving Serge Ibaka, who could have satisfied those needs, especially when going against Cleveland and the game's best player in LeBron James. Smart has not only started to distinguish himself with improved point guard play but has helped fill the void left by Evan Turner's departure this summer.

That, to Celtics opponents, is downright scary. The UNDER is 5-2 in Boston's last seven games and 3-1 in Chicago's last four games.

So, first of all, yes, Smart did make contact.

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