CHICAGO (AP) The last time they played Boston, the Chicago Bulls walked off the court with the most lopsided loss in franchise history and little signs of hope.
Consider this quite a change.
Zach LaVine scored a career-high 42 points, Lauri Markkanen finished with a personal-best 35 points and 15 rebounds, and the Bulls got some payback with a 126-116 victory over the Celtics on Saturday night.
”That’s in the past, a couple of months ago,” Markkanen said. ”We had it in the back of our minds. We didn’t talk about it too much. The coaches didn’t say anything about it.”
LaVine and Markkanen became the first Chicago teammates to score 35 or more in the same game since Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen each had 37 points at Phoenix on Nov. 20, 1996.
LaVine surpassed his previous high of 41 at New York on Nov. 5. Markkanen, whose best coming in was 33 against the Knicks last season, became the fourth Chicago player in 10 years to score 20 or more in eight straight games. And the Bulls won their season-high third in a row while returning the favor for a 133-77 beating at the United Center in December that was also the biggest romp in the Celtics’ storied history.
”You’re going to have clunkers in the NBA,” coach Brad Stevens said.
This was one. But Irving isn’t concerned the Celtics’ struggles will carry into the playoffs.
”No,” he said.
”Because I’m here,” Irving said.