BOSTON -- After the Celtics ended his team's five-game winning streak with a 95-91 victory, Bulls center Joakim Noah sat dejected at his locker, lamenting the loss.
"Our energy just wasn't very good," said Noah, who finished with 16 points and nine rebounds. "We fought at the end, but overall we've got to play better. Our togetherness wasn't great. They shot a high percentage throughout the game. They ran the floor better than us. I think overall they just wanted it more."
Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo recorded 32 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds for his second triple-double of the season. "He got off to a fast start," Noah said. "He played very confident throughout the night and just picked us apart. He's a good player."
Meanwhile, Chicago's point guard -- reigning NBA MVP Derrick Rose -- missed the game with back spasms. The Bulls still lead the Eastern Conference with a 23-7 record, but the loss was their third of a nine-game road trip.
"There's no excuses," said Noah. "We're 6-3 on this road trip. We want to be a championship team, and to be a championship team 6-3 is OK, but it's not great. Obviously, we're not playing with our MVP, but there's definitely enought in this room to win a game like tonight. But I feel like today we got out-competed."
The Celtics outscored the Bulls 33-7 on the fast break and edged the NBA's second-ranked rebounding team by a 44-42 margin. While Chicago slashed the C's 14-point lead to as little as three with 1:23 remaining, Rondo & Co. held off the late charge.
"Basketball is a game of momentums, but I feel like overall they played harder than us tonight, and they deserved to win," said Noah. "We can't let that happen. I think we were playing their pace. ... No excuses. No excuses. Overall, I feel like they out-competed us tonight. It was a great environment. It was a good chance to show what we had, and we let it slip away."
For more on the Celtics, visit weei.com/celtics .