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NBA Game Summary - Chicago at Detroit

(Friday, December 7th)

Final Score: Chicago 98, Detroit 91

Auburn Hills, MI (Sports Network) - Andres Nocioni dropped in 22 points off the bench as Chicago downed Detroit, 98-91, at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

Luol Deng added 17 points and nine rebounds for the suddenly-hot Bulls, who have won four of their past five games. Chris Duhon chipped in with 12 points while rookie Joakim Noah and Ben Gordon both had 11 points.

"I think we're playing with a lot of confidence right now," Nocioni said. "I believe we have started to play like we (can) play; we try to move the ball, we drive to the basket, take the open shot and play hard on defense."

Chauncey Billups tallied a game-high 27 points along with seven assists for the Pistons, who lost for the first time in six games. Richard Hamilton added 24 points in the defeat while Rasheed Wallace finished with 18.

"We had problems guarding Nocioni," Pistons coach Flip Saunders said. "When it came down to it, we couldn't guard him. We tried to stay big and he's either taking threes or he's driving around us. We just couldn't contain him at all."

Chicago held a slim one-point advantage entering the fourth quarter but took control by scoring the first seven points in the frame. After Nocioni dropped in a pair from the line, Noah deposited five straight points on a conventional three-point play and a layup to make it 79-71 with 9 1/2 minutes remaining.

The Pistons responded over the next several minutes, however, and chipped away. Billups' running jumper, with 5:59 on the clock, drew Detroit within three, 83-80.

Antonio McDyess could have made it even closer but missed a wide opener jumper off the pick-and-roll and Wallace made things worse by blowing a putback dunk. Nocioni took advantage with a driving layup, while drawing contact at the other end. The ensuing free throw gave the Bulls some breathing room, 86-80, with 5:20 left.

Both offenses stagnated a bit from there until Billups' reverse layup made it a one-possession game, 86-83, again with 2:58 remaining.

Chicago had the answer again. Deng drained a jumper and Duhon followed with a three to extend the Bulls advantage to 91-83 and secure the game.

The Bulls took a 23-17 lead after the opening 12 minutes and managed to hold on to a slim 45-43 advantage at the break.

Things remained tight through the third quarter with Chicago holding a 72-71 edge heading to the final frame.

Game Notes

The Pistons are 6-2 as the host this season...The Bulls wrapped up a brief two-game road trip at 2-0 and are 3-7 on the road this season...Chicago also defeated Detroit, 97-93, on November 8 this season and has won four straight and five of the last six meetings against the Bulls...Hamilton did not take a shot in the first quarter...The Pistons failed to score 100 points for just the second time in six games...Nocioni has 95 points and 12 assists in his last five games.

12/07 23:11:47 ET

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