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(Wednesday, November 27th)
Final Score: Chicago 99, Detroit 79
Auburn Hills, MI (SportsNetwork.com) - Luol Deng poured in a season-high 27 points and the Chicago Bulls got back on track with a 99-79 win over the Detroit Pistons at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
Taj Gibson put up 23 points on 11-of-13 shooting off the bench to help the Bulls snap a four-game skid and record their first victory since Derrick Rose's latest season-ending knee injury. Deng finished 11-of-17 from the field, while Kirk Hinrich had 13 points and seven assists starting in Rose's place.
"Luol was just off the charts the whole game," Chicago head coach Tom Thibodeau said. "He's a great offensive player and a great defensive player."
Hinrich added three steals to head up a stout defensive effort by Chicago, which limited the Pistons to a paltry 26 points and a 27.8 shooting percentage after halftime.
Detroit suffered its 19th loss in its last 20 encounters with the Bulls despite a 25-point effort from Rodney Stuckey. Josh Smith and Andre Drummond both posted double-doubles in defeat, with Smith recording 13 points and 11 rebounds and Drummond 10 points and 11 boards.
Chicago trailed 53-51 at the half, but dominated the final two quarters en route to its first positive result on a six-game road swing that began with four consecutive setbacks.
Strong defense keyed the surge, as the Bulls induced eight Detroit third- quarter turnovers that were converted into 10 points.
Joakim Noah put Chicago ahead to stay with a tie-breaking layup off a Deng feed with 7:49 to go in the frame, igniting an 8-0 run. He also finished with an inside bucket that gave the Bulls a 65-57 lead.
The Pistons closed within 76-72 on a pair of Stuckey free throws with 10:34 remaining in the game, but made just three field goals the rest of the way as Chicago distanced itself.
A 21-2 sequence in which Gibson and Noah each netted six points put the contest out of reach, with the margin swelling to 99-75 entering the final minute following the huge run.
"They obviously were a lot better in the second half than they were in the first half," Detroit head coach Maurice Cheeks said of the Bulls. "We couldn't score the ball and a lot of it had to do with their defense."
Neither team led by more than six points during a tightly contested first half in which both clubs shot better than 52 percent from the floor.
Brandon Jennings dropped in 10 of his 12 points during the opening quarter as Detroit built a slim 29-25 edge at period's end, but Chicago went ahead early in the second on the strength of an 13-3 run. Gibson accounted for nine of those points, capped by a layup and free throw that put the Bulls up 38-33 five minutes into the session.
Detroit countered with a 14-4 push to regain the lead at 47-42, though Chicago later drew even on a Hinrich 3 in the closing seconds of the half before Stuckey's layup just prior to the buzzer sent the Pistons into the locker room with a 53-51 advantage.
The Bulls finished with a 53.2 shooting percentage after averaging a 39 percent success rate from the floor during their four-game slide ... Detroit went just 2-of-12 from 3-point range and 9-of-19 from the foul line ... Bulls rookie Tony Snell scored a career-high 13 points while hitting 3-of-5 attempts from beyond the arc ... Smith's double-double was his first as a Piston. The former Hawk had 29 of them with Atlanta last season.
11/27 23:45:21 ET