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LaVine, White score 25 as Bulls beat Celtics 121-99

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Chicago pulled within three games of Washington and 3 1/2 of Indiana for the final spots in the Eastern Conference play-in tournament with five to play. “We’re really competing. We know our back’s against the wall right now so, obviously, I wish we played like that from the get-go. We’d be looking at a totally different scenario. But it’s the position we put ourselves in.”

LaVine delivered a “Welcome back” message to fans before tipoff and finished the night with some big plays down the stretch in his second game back after missing 11 straight because of the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols. “We’re getting to be more comfortable with each other, playing together and also still playing our games within the team’s system. Coby and I, I think we’ve been able to really build a good chemistry out there.”

The Celtics, trying to avoid the play-in, fell to seventh in the East and trail Miami by a game with the Heat beating Minnesota. C Robert Williams III missed the game.

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