BOSTON (AP) - Derrick Rose scored 36 points in his playoff debut and helped the Chicago Bulls do something not even Michael Jordan could: beat the Boston Celtics in the postseason.
Rose had 11 assists to go with his career high in points, and Tyrus Thomas made a jumper from the corner with 51 seconds left in overtime to lead the Bulls to a 105-103 victory over the defending NBA champions in Game 1 of their best-of-seven first-round series.
Rajon Rondo scored 29 points with nine rebounds and seven assists for Boston, which was without Kevin Garnett and without much help from the rest of the Big Three, either.
Paul Pierce scored 23 points on 8-of-21 shooting, but missed the potential game-winning free throw at the end of regulation and had a potential game-tying basket blocked with 3.7 seconds left in overtime. Ray Allen, who scored four points on 1-for-12 shooting, had a chance to send it into a second overtime but his jumper from the right side bounced off the back of the rim.
Game 2 is Monday, the anniversary of the 1986 playoff game when Jordan scored 63 points against Boston _ in a Bulls loss. In fact, Chicago had not beaten the Celtics in 10 postseason games since the Chicago Stags beat the Celtics in the 1948 Basketball Association of America quarterfinals.
Too hurt to play and too frustrated to watch, Garnett took refuge in the locker room after the first half while his teammates rallied from an 11-point deficit. Rondo hit a short jumper over Joakim Noah in the lane to give the Celtics a 96-95 lead, but Rose put Chicago ahead on two free throws with 9.4 seconds left in regulation.
Noah fouled Pierce with 2.6 seconds left, but after tying it 97-all with the first free throw the Celtics captain missed the second and the game went into overtime.
Thomas scored six of Chicago’s eight points in the overtime and finished with 16 points. Noah, who was also making his postseason debut, scored 11 with 17 rebounds for the Bulls.
Garnett injured his right knee on Feb. 19 and played just 66 minutes, 18 seconds over the last two months of the regular season as the Celtics tried to get him back in shape for the playoffs. But the team kept pushing back the date of his return _ from the final three games, to the last two and then to one before coach Doc Rivers shocked everyone on Thursday when he announced that Garnett wouldn’t be back in time for Saturday’s playoff opener and probably not at all.
Garnett hasn’t traveled with the team or been on the bench during his recovery, but Rivers and the players all said that it would be vital to have him out there to cheer them on. That lasted for 24 minutes of fist-pumping, ear-chewing and butt-slapping before Garnett decided he couldn’t take it any more.
He missed Rose hitting a hanging jumper in the lane to give the Bulls a 55-44 lead before Boston cut the lead to four points and, with an 8-0 run later in the third, take a 68-67 lead on Rondo’s 3-pointer with four minutes left in the quarter.
With the loss at home, the Celtics showed they are in for a long road _ and probably a short playoffs _ without Garnett. As the No. 2 seed in the East, a team that has two All-Stars and won 62 games _ Boston was expected to advance to the conference finals and a potential matchup with Cleveland.
On the other hand, the eighth-seeded Atlanta Hawks took the Celtics to seven games in the first round last year, and that proved to be a mere speed bump en route to their unprecedented 17th NBA title.
Notes: Celtics general manager Danny Ainge, who suffered a mild heart attack on Thursday, was not at the game. His absence was acknowledged by an announcement and a big cheer from the crowd in the first quarter. … Bulls F John Salmons played with a sore groin. … The arena was quickly cleared so the Bull Gang could set up for Saturday night’s Bruins playoff game against the Montreal Canadiens.