STEVENS MISSES CELTICS’ LOSS TO VISIT AILING PLAYER
chicago» Pau Gasol had 17 points and 18 rebounds, Derrick Rose scored 18 points, and the Bulls beat the Celtics 101-92 on Thursday night for their sixth straight victory.
Jimmy Butler added 19 points and 10 assists.
The Bulls used a big third quarter to extend their longest win streak of the season and handed the Celtics their fourth loss in five games.
Boston coach Brad Stevens missed this one to visit cancerstricken former Butler center Andrew Smith, who played on the Bulldogs’ two runs to the national championship game. He has been battling non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and was scheduled to undergo a bone marrow transplant Thursday, according to The Boston Globe.
With assistant Jay Larranaga filling in for Stevens, Boston got 17 points from Jae Crowder. Kelly Olynyk added 16 points, but the Celtics shot just 35.7 percent and were 5-of-25 on 3-pointers.
James Harden scored 33 points to lead the Rockets to a 103-94 victory over the Jazz. Houston beat Utah for the second time in four days, following a 93-91 win Monday in Salt Lake City. Harden had 30 points in that one and has scored at least 30 in three of his last four games. … Kent Bazemore scored 22 points, Paul Millsap and Al Horford had 18 apiece and the Hawks blew out the 76ers 126-98 to snap a twogame losing streak. Dennis Schroder added 14 points off the bench for the Hawks, who shot 54 percent from the field and 42 percent from 3-point range against the NBA’s worst team en route to their most lopsided win of the season.
Green makes all-star push. Golden State’s Draymond Green has moved into third place in voting for the Western Conference frontcourt, putting him in position to start in the NBA All-Star Game. Green is about 1,300 votes ahead of San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard in the closest race for a starting spot. Kobe Bryant, the leading vote-getter with more than 1.2 million votes, and Kevin Durant are ahead of them among West frontcourt players. NBA MVP Stephen Curry and Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook are the leaders at guard for the Feb. 14 game in Toronto.