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Bulls hold off pesky Celtics

– Chicago’s D.J. Augustin put an end to a series of pesky rallies by the Boston Celtics.

Augustin hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 2:01 remaining, then continued a perfect night from the foul line while scoring a career-high 33 points for the Bulls in a 107-102 win over Boston.

Augustin scored 15 in the fourth, including six points from the foul line as the Bulls held off the slumping Celtics.

“Even though we didn’t play great defense tonight, we pulled it out and we know what we have to fix,” said Augustin, whose previous career high was 31 points scored against Philadelphia in January 2011. “I really don’t follow that. Some of my teammates told me. It’s a great accomplishment, but I’m glad we got the win.”

Joakim Noah finished with 13 points, 13 assists and eight rebounds for Chicago two nights after it was routed at home by Portland.

“That is how we have to win. Our margin of error is not great,” Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau said. “We’ve got to play with great intensity each and every night.”

The Bulls, who avoided losing consecutive games for the first time in nearly two months, will go for a three-game season sweep against the Celtics tonight in Chicago.

Carlos Boozer scored 14, Kirk Hinrich and Mike Dunleavy added 11 points apiece and all five Chicago starters scored in double figures.

Rajon Rondo had 17 points and 11 assists for Boston, which has lost four straight and nine of 10.

Jeff Green and Jared Sullinger scored 16 points each for Boston and Sullinger pulled down 10 rebounds. Kris Humphries added 14 points and eight rebounds.

NETS 114, TIMBERWOLVES 99: In New York, Paul Pierce scored 22 points after another sensational start, and Brooklyn moved to the brink of a playoff spot with its franchise record-tying 13th straight home victory.

THUNDER 116, JAZZ 96: In Oklahoma City, Kevin Durant had 31 points, the 38th consecutive game in which he scored at least 25 points, to lead Oklahoma City, which has won six of seven.

RAPTORS 98, MAGIC 93: In Orlando, Fla., DeMar DeRozan had 28 points, Jonas Valanciunas added 20 points and nine rebounds, and Toronto escaped with its seventh straight win over Orlando.

TRAIL BLAZERS 105, GRIZZLIES 98: In Portland, Ore., LaMarcus Aldridge scored 26 points in his third game back from an injury and Portland extended its winning streak to three games.

KNICKS 89, WARRIORS 84: In Oakland, Calif., J.R. Smith scored 21 points, Carmelo Anthony added 19 points and nine rebounds and New York moved within one game of the final playoff spot.