The Celtics hung on for their eighth win in nine games after a 16-point lead dwindled to three in the fourth quarter. Tatum hit a 3-pointer with just over a minute left to bump the lead to seven, and the Atlantic Division leaders came out on top after rallying from 18 down to beat Atlanta on Friday.
Zach LaVine scored 35 to lead Chicago and nailed five 3-pointers. Lauri Markkanen had 15 points, though he walked gingerly off the court with about four minutes left after a driving Marcus Smart landed on his left ankle. The Bulls lost for the fourth time in five games.
The Celtics led 93-77 early in the fourth. But instead of cruising the rest of the way, they had to withstand a big push by Chicago.
The Bulls cut it to 95-92 with 7:21 remaining on a 3 by LaVine and a layup by Kris Dunn. It stayed tight until Tatum nailed a 3 to make it 108-101 with 1:06 left. LaVine then missed two free throws and a pull-up 3, helping seal the win for Boston.
Celtics: Coach Brad Stevens said Walker is improving, though he would have to feel “much better” Sunday to meet the team in Washington. Stevens said that remained a possibility. … Stevens said scans on C Robert Williams (left hip bone edema) showed improvement and he will meet Tuesday with a specialist. Williams has not played since Dec. 6. … Kanter had to get his chin stitched following Friday’s win over Atlanta. “He was bragging about his scar,” Stevens said.
Bulls: F Chandler Hutchison (right shoulder) missed his 17th consecutive game, after playing for the G League’s Windy City Bulls on Friday. He has not appeared in a game for Chicago since Nov. 27.
Celtics: Visit the Washington Wizards on Monday.
Bulls: Visit the Dallas Mavericks on Monday. ___
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