On a night the rebounding failed again and the defense didn't play as sharp as it will need to, the Bulls won a shootout Sunday night.

Those words haven't been used often this season, but these have: D.J. Augustin to the rescue.

Augustin's career-high 33 points featured 15 in the fourth quarter, including the stone-cold, go-ahead 3-pointer with 79 seconds left in the Bulls' too-close-for-comfort 107-102 victory over the Celtics.

Augustin shot 10-for-14 from the field with three 3-pointers, knocked down all 10 of his foul shots and played so large that Joakim Noah started his free-agent recruiting early.

"I think he found a home here," Noah said. "I hope he can stay for a long time."

Noah will. He flirted with yet another triple-double before settling for 13 points, 13 assists and eight rebounds. It was the sixth double-digit assists game for Noah.

And he added one with his perceptive postgame comments, plainly detailing that efforts such as this one won't cut it when the calendar turns to April.

"We need to play better," Noah said. "This is a tough time of year. Your mind wants to go to the playoffs. But our mindset has to be on playing better. Our rebounding hasn't been great. Our defense can be better. Winning is big, but we have to keep it real with ourselves, be critical and know we're going to have to play a lot better down the road."

That's three variations of "we have to play better" for those scoring at home. Augustin took care of the scoring at TD Garden.

"I was just being aggressive, trying to take what they gave me," Augustin said. "They started blitzing me at the end and it just opened up things for Jo to make good passes."