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Bulls, Celtics open a home-and-home in Boston

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Chicago Bulls and Boston Celtics begin a home-and- home series, starting Sunday night at TD Bank Garden in Boston.

The two teams meet in Chicago on Monday night.

The Bulls had a two-game winning streak snapped Friday night with a dreadful home loss to the Portland Trail Blazers. Chicago fell, 91-74, but did clinch a playoff berth even with the loss.

The Bulls trail the Toronto Raptors by a game for the third seed in the Eastern Conference.

"One game is not the end all, either way," said Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau.

Three Bulls had double-doubles, with Carlos Boozer's 16 points and 12 rebounds leading the way. Taj Gibson posted 13 points and 10 rebounds and Joakim Noah finished with 11 points and 10 boards.

D.J. Augustin scored 15 points and Jimmy Butler added 10.

The Blazers shot 45.5 percent from long range. In contrast, the Bulls went 3- for-17 from beyond the 3-point arc and shot below 40 percent from the field for the night.

The Celtics have dropped three in a row and eight of the last nine. The lone victory during that span came against the two-time defending NBA champion Miami Heat of all teams.

Boston lost both ends of a home-and-home series against the Toronto Raptors last week.

First, the Raptors beat the Celtics in Boston on Wednesday night, then defended their home court with a 105-103 victory at the Air Canada Centre on Friday.

In the loss in Toronto, Jerryd Bayless poured in 20 points off the bench for the Celtics and Jeff Green, who was bothered by a stiff neck, scored 16 points.

"I was just making shots, tried to get it going, and it worked out," Bayless said.

The Celtics trailed 85-73 after three quarters but a 10-0 run midway through the fourth, which Bayless capped with a jumper at 4:52, gave them a 96-95 lead.

Kelly Olynyk's layup nearly two minutes later gave Boston a four-point lead, but it was all Toronto down the stretch. Kyle Lowry scored at the rim out of a timeout and Greivis Vasquez tied the score with two free throws at 1:14.

After Green missed a fade-away for Boston, DeMar DeRozan restored the Raptors lead with a difficult stepback with 33.9 ticks left. Rajon Rondo had a layup less than five seconds later to tie it back up, setting up Toronto's decisive final possession. With the shot clock winding down, Lowry drove and missed a layup, but Amir Johnson was there for the game-winning tip-in.

The Bulls won this season's only meeting, which was in Chicago. The Celtics have won four of the last six in Beantown.