Boston, MA (SportsNetwork.com) - Jimmy Butler made four key free throws down the stretch to lift the Chicago Bulls over the Boston Celtics, 109-102, on Friday.
Butler ended with 22 points for the Bulls, who improved to 3-3 on their seven- game road trip. Derrick Rose, who exited Tuesday's game against Denver with a hamstring injury, had 21 points.
"When he plays like that, it's huge for our team," Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau said of Rose. "When you look at his plus-minus when he's on the floor for our team this year, it's off the charts. When he's on the floor it makes a big difference for our team. I think we all know that."
Joakim Noah tallied 15 points, 14 rebounds, six assists and six blocks in his return to the lineup. He missed Tuesday's game due to eye and knee issues.
Jared Sullinger ended with 23 points and 10 boards for the Celtics, who have lost three in a row. Avery Bradley and Brandon Bass added 18 and 16 points, respectively, with Bass also pulling down nine rebounds.
The Bulls started the fourth quarter on an 11-2 run to take a 96-93 lead, and it remained close the rest of the way.
Sullinger's three-point play and Jeff Green's layup gave Boston a 102-100 edge with 2:29 to play.
The key call in the game came one minute later when Sullinger was called for an offensive charge. Butler made two free throws at the other end to tie things up.
After having his shot blocked by Noah, Rajon Rondo was fouled by Rose. Rondo missed the ensuing free throws and Sullinger was off the mark from 3-point range. Butler made two more free throws at the opposite end to give Chicago a 104-102 lead with 50.4 seconds remaining.
"It's very frustrating, in particular this game. If I make my free throws I think we win the game," Rondo said.
Noah blocked Evan Turner's layup, then made a jumper to seal the victory.
Boston led 35-24 after 12 minutes of action and took a 60-54 edge into the locker room.
Each team scored 31 points in the third quarter that ended with the Celtics holding a 91-85 margin.
Boston guard Marcus Smart missed his eighth straight game with an ankle injury ... Aaron Brooks had 15 points for Chicago ... The Bulls play at Brooklyn on Sunday, while the Celtics welcome San Antonio to town on Sunday.