BOSTON (CBS) – During an emotional night at TD Garden, the Chicago Bulls came into Boston and took the opening game of their playoff series.
Playing the day after the death of his sister in a Washington state car accident, guard Isaiah Thomas led Boston with 33 points.
But it wasn’t enough as the No. 8 seed Bulls pulled away late to grab a 106-102 road win.
Al Horford had a strong Boston playoff debut with 19 points and 7 rebounds, while Avery Bradley chipped in 14 points.
Jimmy Butler led the Bulls with 30 points. Bobby Portis contributed 19 for Chicago.
Chicago beat Boston on the boards throughout the night, ending the game with a 53-36 team rebounding edge.
The game was tight for much of the game. The Celtics headed into halftime trailing by a 48-46 margin, and the contest was knotted at 74-74 following three quarters.
Neither team ever held a double digit lead, though Chicago went up by nine with just over a minute to play before the Celtics pulled within 104-102 in the final seconds. But it was too little, too late for top-seeded Boston.
Thomas led the Celtics out of the tunnel before the game and received a raucous ovation as he wore shoes with “RIP Lil Sis” written on them in memory of his sister, Chyna Thomas, who died Saturday morning in a crash near Tacoma.
The crowd paused for a moment of silence in Chyna Thomas’ honor before the National Anthem.
Boston and Chicago will meet again in Game 2 on Tuesday at TD Garden. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m.