Their frustration about the quick whistles was manifested in technical fouls, but that didn’t deter the Bulls (13-18), losers of six out of the previous seven home games heading into Thursday night’s clash with the Celtics (13-19), from the task at hand in a 94-82 victory.

In the early going, the Bulls looked like a much better offensive unit than they’ve proved to be as of late, getting balanced scoring and jumping out to a slim edge in the opening period behind the interior play of power forward Carlos Boozer (16 points, seven rebounds). The Celtics, however, were of a similar mindset and stayed within close contact, eventually making it a back-and-forth affair, with scoring guard Jordan Crawford (22 points, seven assists) — the fill-in replacement for injured All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo — serving as a catalyst.

Later in the frame, the Bulls got a boost off the bench from top reserve Taj Gibson (12 points, five rebounds) and after a quarter of play, held a 24-21 advantage.

Led by backup power forward Kris Humphries, Boston went on an 8-0 run to start the second quarter, leading to a timeout to halt the proceedings and giving Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau the chance to make adjustments. Whatever strategic changes were made didn’t immediately take — second-year big man Jared Sullinger (11 points, 11 rebounds) was having his way inside — as Thibodeau’s frustrations led to him being hit with a technical foul shortly thereafter.

Whether not the coach was utilizing the infraction as a motivational tactic or not, his team responded, as the Bulls quickly erased the deficit that had been built, courtesy of an 8-2 spurt that featured solid play from Gibson and fellow reserve D.J. Augustin, the playmaking backup point guard. The All-Star duo of center Joakim Noah (17 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists) and small forward Luol Deng (14 points) also made positive contributions — both gave strong all-around first-half performances, but the former’s six first-half assists were particularly remarkable, given the position he plays—helping the Bulls not only regain the lead, but obtain some breathing room.