NBA Game Summary - Chicago at Detroit
(Sunday, March 9th)
Final Score: Detroit 116, Chicago 109
Auburn Hills, MI (Sports Network) - Chauncey Billups tied a season-high with 34 points, and the Detroit Pistons broke their jinx against the Bulls with a 116-109 win over Chicago.
"It's big to get a win over them and just take care of business," said Billups.
Richard Hamilton scored 23 points and had seven assists for Detroit, which has won four of five and seven of nine, and clinched a playoff spot for the seventh consecutive season. Tayshaun Prince had 21 points, six rebounds, and six assists for the Pistons, who salvaged one win from their four games against the Bulls this season.
Chicago has only 25 wins on the season, but three are against the Pistons. The Bulls took three of four from Detroit last season, after a string of four seasons in which the Pistons won 10 of 12 against Chicago, three times sweeping the Bulls.
Ben Gordon scored 27 points to lead the Bulls, who fell to 1 1/2 games back of Atlanta for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. New Jersey is in ninth place in the East, a game behind Atlanta. Luol Deng had 21 points, and Larry Hughes added 13 for Chicago, which has lost two in a row.
Both clubs were without key contributors. Detroit forward Rasheed Wallace sat out his second straight game with a sprained left ankle, while Bulls guard Chris Duhon was benched for missing a team workout Sunday morning.
Duhon attended Saturday night's game between Duke -- his alma mater -- and North Carolina in Durham without the permission or knowledge of head coach Jim Boylan. Duhon then overslept and missed a morning shootaround, prompting his benching.
The Bulls cut to within striking distance of the lead several times in the fourth quarter, only to see Detroit answer and pull back away. A Joakim Noah dunk pulled Chicago within 91-90 with 8:24 left, but Prince answered with a jumper. A Deng dunk again made it a one-point game, but Detroit scored five straight, and a Rodney Stuckey layup put the Pistons up 98-92 with 5:50 left.
An Andres Nocioni three-pointer cut the deficit to 110-105 with just under a minute left, but the Pistons sealed the win in the last minute from the free- throw line. Billups sank four free throws, and Hamilton added two as Detroit held on.
"Until our defense picks up, it's going to be a struggle for us. I thought that we had so many breakdowns that they were just able to drive by us at will. It's kind of disappointing from that standpoint," said Boylan.
Detroit led 29-19 after the first quarter, and took a 54-43 edge into the break.
The Bulls had bridged the gap to 81-78 entering the final 12 minutes.
The Pistons improved to 27-0 this season when scoring over 100 points...Duhon was the second Bulls player benched for disciplinary reasons in the past week. Forward Tyrus Thomas returned Sunday after a two-game suspension for missing a practice earlier in the week...The 109 points was the most allowed by the Pistons this season.
03/09 23:55:17 ET