NBA: Robert Williams III free throws lift Celtics over Bulls

Field Level Media/Reuters

Posted at Jan 16 2022 12:44 PM | Updated as of Jan 16 2022 12:47 PM

Chicago Bulls center Nikola Vucevic (9), Boston Celtics center Al Horford (42) and center Robert Williams III (44) battle for a loose ball during the second half at TD Garden. Bob DeChiara, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters.
Chicago Bulls center Nikola Vucevic (9), Boston Celtics center Al Horford (42) and center Robert Williams III (44) battle for a loose ball during the second half at TD Garden. Bob DeChiara, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters.

Robert Williams III scored six of his team's final 10 points, including the game-winning free throws with 9.7 seconds remaining as the host Boston Celtics rallied past the shorthanded Chicago Bulls for a 114-112 win on Saturday night.

Chicago went up 108-101 with just over four minutes to play before Boston used an 11-4 run to tie it at 112 after a pair of Williams free throws with 31 seconds to play.

DeMar DeRozan missed a stepback jumper with 9.7 seconds left and Nikola Vucevic committed a loose ball foul on the rebound. Williams made two more free throws to make it 114-112 and Vucevic missed a 3-pointer and DeRozan misfired on an 11-footer to end the game.

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Jayson Tatum had a team-high 23 points and 12 rebounds and Jaylen Brown added 19 points to lead the Celtics. Dennis Schroder added 16 points with eight assists, Al Horford had 15 with eight rebounds and Williams totaled 14 points, 13 boards and six assists.

Boston bounced back from a 111-99 loss at Philadelphia on Friday with its sixth win in nine games.

Vucevic had a game-high 27 points, DeRozan had 23 with eight rebounds and seven assists as Ayo Dosunmu added career-highs of 21 points and 10 assists for the Bulls.

Coby White added 19 points for Chicago, which suffered its third straight defeat and fourth in its last five games.

Bulls All-Star guard Zach LaVine missed the game after suffering a left knee injury in Friday's loss to the Golden State Warriors. An MRI exam on Saturday reportedly revealed no structural damage to LaVine's knee.

Chicago guard Lonzo Ball was a game-time scratch with left knee soreness. The Bulls were also without Alex Caruso (foot), Derrick Jones (bone bruise in right knee), Javonte Green (right adductor strain), Tyler Cook (ankle) and Patrick Williams (wrist).

Celtics guard Marcus Smart missed his third straight game after entering the NBA's COVID-19 health and safety protocol prior to Friday's loss at Philadelphia.

Boston led 54-49 at halftime after being up as many as 12 points early in the second quarter.