Larry Bird scored 28 points and Kevin McHale 24, and the Celtics withstood a late run led by rookie Michael Jordan and Orlando Woolridge last night in outdueling the Chicago Bulls, 111-108, in Boston.
Bird scored 10 in the third period, and McHale 12 in the fourth quarter as the Celtics won their fourth straight and 15th in 16 home appearances. With a 30-6 record, Boston retains its lead in the Atlantic Division, a half-game ahead of Philadelphia, 29-6 after beating Detroit last night.
Jordan, a No. 1 draft pick from the University of North Carolina, scored 36 points in his Boston Garden debut. Woolridge had 31, but the Bulls fell short after rallying from a 97-88 deficit with just over seven minutes left.
The Bulls closed to 105-104 on a three-point play by Jordan with 2:24 remaining. Bird hit two free throws before Quentin Dailey made a base line jumper for the Bulls.
After Bird intercepted Jordan's pass, Danny Ainge made a 20-foot jumper for a 109-106 lead with 49 seconds to go.
Jordan and Boston's Robert Parish each made two free throws before the Bulls' Rod Higgins missed a three-point shot just before the buzzer.
Johnson had 14 points, Parish 12 and Ainge 11. Dailey ended with 15 for the Bulls, who lost their fourth in five games.