Finally with fans at the United Center, the Bulls race past the Celtics


CHICAGO, IL – MAY 7: Zach LaVine #8 of the Chicago Bulls dunks the ball during the game against the Boston Celtics on May 7, 2021 at United Center in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images)

CHICAGO – This was a moment that was 14 months in the making, even if capacity was limited to just 25 percent.

Any fans in the building are better than none at all, and the COVID-19 pandemic has proved that.

For the first time since March 10, 2020, the Bulls were allowed to have fans at a game at the United Center. The team didn’t play again after the NBA season was paused due to the virus and when this seasons started, the city wouldn’t let the team host fans.

But recent easing of restrictions have allowed the Bulls to have fans for the last week of their regular season, with Friday’s contest with the Celtics serving as the first with spectators at home this season.

With that in mind, the Bulls didn’t let them leave unhappy.

Taking a big lead in the second quarter, the Bulls kept it up in the second half, surviving a mid-fourth quarter Boston run to win 121-99 on Friday night at the United Center. The second-straight victory keeps the Bulls three games back of the last Eastern Conference play-in spot with five to play.

Zach LaVine and Coby White each led the team with 25 points with Nikola Vucevic getting a triple-double (18 points, 14 rebounds, ten assists) for the second time with the Bulls his season.

This was the first time he got to play in front of his home fans here in Chicago after his trade from the Magic in March. It was a special moment for him and others as the fans made their very long awaited return to the United Center.

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