Basketball

Bulls force Game 7 with 3OT win

John Salmons scored 35 points and Derrick Rose blocked Rajon Rondo's shot with three seconds left in triple overtime as the Chicago Bulls outlasted the Boston Celtics 128-127.

Allen awesome in losing cause

John Salmons scored 35 points and Derrick Rose blocked Rajon Rondo's shot with three seconds left in triple overtime as the Chicago Bulls outlasted the Boston Celtics 128-127 in Game 6 action on Thursday night.

The teams went to overtime for the third consecutive game and the fourth overall in their first-round matchup. Chicago won in double OT on Sunday, with the Celtics needing an extra five minutes on Tuesday to take the lead back in the seesaw series.

Game 7 will take place Saturday night in Boston, with the winner advancing to take on the Orlando Magic in the second round of the post-season.

"It's crazy, but you got to love it," Rose said.

Ray Allen scored a whopping 51 points for the Celtics, setting a franchise record and tying an NBA playoff mark with nine three-pointers. Allen tied Vince Carter and Rex Chapman for the three-point mark.

"It's very bittersweet," Allen said. "There's nothing to really talk about anymore. We lost and we had the agony that it wasn't enough.".

Chicago went up to stay when Joakim Noah atoned for a foul earlier in the third overtime by nabbing a Paul Pierce pass and driving down for a dunk, with Pierce fouling out on the play to finish with 22 points and nine rebounds.

Noah, who finished with 15 rebounds, made the foul shot to make the score 126-123.

"This series is a lot of fun for the fans, the people of Chicago, the people of Boston," said the second-year player. "It's a lot of fun for us, too, playing in environments like this on the big stage. It's special to be part of this, and I know that it's a series people will be talking about for a long time."

Eddie House drew Boston to within one again with his first two points of the game but teammate Glen Davis fouled out to allow Brad Miller to get those two points right back for the Bulls.

Rondo brought Boston back to within one point, and when Chicago's Kirk Heinrich missed a layup in close, the Celtics had the ball and a chance to finish off the series.

But Rondo could not come through, as Rose complemented his 28-point total with the critical play of the game with three seconds left.

Rondo had one more desperation attempt, launching a long shot as time expired, but it went high off the glass. He was all over the court in the game, finishing with eight points, nine rebounds and a game-high 19 assists.

Salmons and Allen starred in the second overtime session. Salmons hit a three-pointer and then drove through the lane and finished with a layup as Chicago pulled ahead 116-113.

Allen set his mark to make it 118-118 with eight seconds left in double overtime.

Chicago led for much of the game but had to rally after the Celtics took over in the fourth quarter to open up an eight-point lead.

Miller, who had trouble at the foul line in Game 5, hit a three-pointer and made a layup in the last two minutes of the fourth quarter to help the Bulls force overtime. He finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds.

Tyrus Thomas powered his way for a Chicago dunk as the team broke out to an early 30-18 lead in the first, but the Celtics clawed to within two points by halftime as Allen made a trio of three-pointers late in the second quarter.

The Bulls took a seven-point lead into the fourth, but Kendrick Perkins and Allen engineered the Boston turnaround. Perkins led his team with 13 rebounds.

With files from The Associated Press

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