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Celtics pass Bulls test to push NBA win streak to nine games

LOS ANGELES, United States -- The Boston Celtics pushed their NBA winning streak to nine games with a 124-113 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Saturday (Sunday, Manila time) as the Houston Rockets won their eighth straight, 147-119 over Utah.

Sam Hauser made seven of the Celtics' 21 three-pointers, missing just once from beyond the arc on the way to 23 points.

Al Horford also scored 23 while Jayson Tatum -- back after sitting out a victory over the Pistons in Detroit on Friday -- led the way with 26.

With Tatum back it was the turn of Jaylen Brown and Kristaps Porzingis to rest nagging injuries, but the Celtics didn't miss a beat.

Horford drilled five three-pointers and the Celtics, who led 95-92 going into the fourth quarter relentlessly pulled away.

They took a 10-point lead on Tatum's finger roll layup with just over three minutes remaining and a Hauser three-pointer pushed the lead to 13 with 1:29 to play.

DeMar DeRozan led all scorers with 28 points, but the Bulls dropped their second straight.

"Playing teams like Chicago is a great test for the playoffs because of their ability to go on runs, their ability to impact the game on turnovers, points off turnovers, offensive rebounds, free throws," Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla said. "They test you on the margins."

Mazzulla said Boston's 12-3 advantage in offensive rebounds and their ability to limit the Bulls to 11 free-throw attempts was a "recipe for success."

The Celtics are now two wins away from equalling their season-best 11-game winning streak.

They pushed their league-best record to 57-14 and lead the Eastern Conference by 11.5 games over the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Rockets, meanwhile, are fighting for their post-season lives. At 11th in the West they are one place outside the play-in tournament, 1.5 games behind 10th-placed Golden State.

Their eight-game winning streak is their longest since 2019 and it owes plenty to Jalen Green, who scored 41 points less than a week after posting 42 in a win over Washington.

"It won't really mean anything if we don't make the playoffs," Green said of his run of form.

Green drained seven three-pointers and Fred VanVleet hit 10 treys as the Rockets made 27 from beyond the