Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - On a night the Bulls played without Derrick Rose, it was time for Pau Gasol to take charge.
The veteran scored nearly half of Chicago's points in a 95-87 victory over the Boston Celtics at United Center.
Gasol dropped a career-high 46 points and pulled down 18 rebounds. He was truly the go-to player for the Bulls, who were without Rose due to left knee soreness.
Kirk Hinrich had 16 points and Jimmy Butler contributed nine points, eight rebounds and a career-high 10 assists for the Bulls, who snapped a two-game skid.
Brandon Knight scored 20 for Milwaukee, which had won its previous two games.
"We have to do better defensively when we see a guy's got it going," Knight said about defending Gasol. "We should have been able to do some different things just to slow him down."
Gasol's previous career-best was 44 points on March 28, 2006 when he played for Memphis. He went 17-of-30 from the field and missed only one of his 13 free throws. Gasol had 40 points through three quarters, and the Bulls pulled away in the fourth.
"That was always a good sign for me when I am able to get a good base in the post and finish the first couple of shots," Gasol said about playing against Zaza Pachulia. "When the jumper is falling too you know you're on. It was a good overall night."
O.J. Mayo's 3-pointer had the visitors within 73-69 2 1/2 minutes into the period, but the Bulls scored the next six and led by at least eight points the rest of the way.
Gasol had 20 points in the first quarter to help the Bulls to a 29-19 lead after 12 minutes. He scored the game's first seven points.
Milwaukee got as close as five in the second quarter, but trailed 48-39 at the break. The visitors then went ahead briefly early in the third when Khris Middleton's layup made it 51-50. Gasol responded by sinking a turnaround hook shot to start a 10-0 run.
The Bucks were within 68-62 going to the fourth and shot 61 percent in the last period, but the Bulls countered by going 6-of-6 from the charity stripe.
Chicago held a 51-37 rebounding advantage ... The Bulls have won the last five meetings ... Jared Dudley scored 15 for Milwaukee, which had its five-game road winning streak broken ... The Bulls shot 39.8 percent. Milwaukee has held its last 12 opponents to under 50 percent shooting, which is the team's longest such streak since 14 games from Dec. 13, 2013 to Jan. 11, 2014.