Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Derrick Rose poured in 17 of his career-high 39 points in the fourth quarter, and the Bulls moved to the brink of clinching a playoff spot with a 101-93 victory over the Boston Celtics.
Kirk Hinrich added a season-best 30 points for Chicago, which has a magic number of one to clinch a playoff berth going into the final night of the regular season.
The Bulls, thanks in part to a 16-point win at Toronto Sunday, are a game ahead of the ninth-place Raptors in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls play at Charlotte, while the Raptors host New York Wednesday. Chicago either needs a win or a Toronto loss to secure a postseason spot for a fifth time in six years. The Raptors can still get in because they hold the tiebreaker by winning the season series against the Bulls.
The Celtics, the Atlantic Division champions, will finish fourth in the East, just behind Atlanta. Boston will open the playoffs at home against either Miami or Milwaukee.
Rose finished 15-of-22 from the field and was perfect in the final quarter. He made all six of his field goal tries and all five of his shots from the foul line.
A layup from Pierce had the Celtics within 75-72 with 8:58 left, but the Bulls scored the next six points, started by a Rose three-point play.
Pierce's dunk had Boston knocking on the door at 90-86 with 1:31 left, but Hinrich nailed a three-pointer.
The Celtics were within 93-88 after two Pierce free throws, but Hinrich drained a jumper from the left wing as the shot clock expired with 43.7 seconds left.
Boston held a 20-17 lead after one quarter, but Hinrich scored 10 in the second, helping Chicago to a 44-41 edge at the half. Rose provided the fireworks in that second quarter, coming up with a breakaway reverse cradle dunk. That was part of an 18-2 run that helped the Bulls grab a 37-29 lead.
Pierce's jumper provided Boston with a 57-50 lead with 6 1/2 minutes left in the third, but Chicago went back ahead with 66 seconds left before falling behind 68-67 on a Marquis Daniels bucket going into the final quarter.
The season series ended tied 2-2...Boston, which finishes at home against the Bucks Wednesday, ended 26-15 on the road...Chicago was 24-17 at home...The Bulls beat Boston for just the third time in the last 11 meetings...Kevin Garnett had 14 points and nine rebounds for Boston. He was given the night off in Boston's previous game...Joakim Noah had nine points, 16 rebounds and three blocks for the Bulls, who also got 12 boards from Luol Deng.