The Chicago Bulls kept their playoff hopes alive Wednesday night as they sent the Detroit Pistons to their 5th loss in there last 6 games with a 117-95 victory. The win by the Bulls also evens their record with the Pistons at 34-38. The Bulls and the Pistons are tied for 10th place in the Eastern Conference and are 1 1/2 games behind the Miami Heat for that final playoff spot.
The Bulls got off to a quick start scoring six of the games first eight points to take a 6-2 lead. Detroit then scored five straight points to take a 7-6 lead. The teams traded the lead four more times before the Bulls took the lead for good at 14-13 with 5:31 left in the quarter. The Bulls went on a 13-0 run to take their first double digit lead of the game at 25-13. The Pistons got to within four points 25-21 with 1:24 left in the quarter, but the Bulls finished the quarter on a 7-2 run to take a 32-23 lead after one quarter.
The Bulls got their double digit lead back early in the 2nd quarter and built that lead to 13 points. Detroit was able to cut the lead to eight points, but the Bulls quickly pushed it back to a 12 point lead at 43-31. Detroit went on a 10 to 2 run to get the lead down to four points at 45-41 with 4:18 left in the quarter. Detroit was able to get the lead won to just two points when Ish Smith made a lay up with 1:01 left in the quarter. The Bulls where able to score the final four points of the quarter to take a 59-53 lead at halftime.
The Bulls where really able to put some distance between themselves and the Pistons inn the 3rd quarter. Chicago took their double digit lead back when Nikola Mirotic hit a 3-pointer with 10;41 left in the quarter to put the Bulls up 65-55. Detroit was unable to cut the Bulls lead under double digits and had a difficult time keeping the lead under 20 points. The Pistons themselves managed just 20 points in the 3rd quarter and the Bulls puled away to a 18 point lead at 91-73 heading into the 4th quarter.
The 4th quarter didn’t go much better for the Pistons offensively as they managed just 22 points in the quarter. Detroit never got closer than 15 points in the 4th quarter. Marcus Morris completed a three point play to cut the Bulls lead to 15 points at 98-83 with 5:20 left in the game. The Bulls then went on a 16 to 1 run to extend the lead to 25 points at 114-89. The Pistons did knock a couple of points off the Bulls lead, but the outcome of the game was determined by then with the Bulls taking a 117-95 victory.
Nikola Mirotic got a rare start for the Bulls and responded by being the games top scorer with 28 points. Joffrey Lauvergne was also in the starting line up for the suspended Robin Lopez and scored 17 points and a team high 7 rebounds. Jimmy Butler had a double-double with 16 points and a game high 12 assists. Paul Zipser added 15 points while Bobby Portis came off the Bulls bench to add 12 points.
Marcus Morris and Tobias Harris led the Pistons in scoring as they each had 14 points. Jon Leuer (off the bench) had 13 points while Stanley Johnson (off the bench) added 12 points. Ish Smith was the teams leader in assists with 7 while Andre Drummond grabbed a game high 17 rebounds.
After back to back games the Bulls get a night off before they host the 26-45 Philadelphia 76ers Friday night. The Pistons stay on the road as they’ll try to break their two game losing streak Friday night against the 26-46 Orlando Magic.