Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Joakim Noah fell just shy of a triple-double but nonetheless helped the Chicago Bulls to a thorough 94-82 victory over the Boston Celtics on Thursday.
"He is a guy who always makes his teammates better," Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said of Noah. "He is just a good all-around player."
Noah totaled 17 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists while Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng chipped in with 16 and 14 points, respectively, for Chicago, which never trailed in the second half and picked up its fourth win in the last six games.
Boston fell for the fifth time in six games despite Jordan Crawford pouring in a game-high 22 points and handing out seven assists. Jared Sullinger added 11 points and 11 boards in the setback.
There were 12 lead changes in the first half, and the largest margin for either team was just six points.
Chicago, which led 48-45 at the break, changed the back-and-forth affair with a strong defensive third quarter. Boston scored just 17 points in the frame and trailed by as many as 10 after Noah scored off an offensive rebound to put the Bulls on top, 61-51, near the midway point.
The Celtics pulled within four late in the third, but Chicago went on an 11-0 run that stretched into the fourth. Mike Dunleavy's 3-pointer early in the final stanza stretched the Bulls' advantage to 77-62, and the closest Boston got from there was 10.
"We have to give everything we have every night. We can't take any nights off," Noah said.