CHICAGO (TICKER) —All-Star Ben Wallace grabbed 22 rebounds and Chauncey Billups scored 20 points as the NBA’s best defensive team held the Chicago Bulls to 13 fourth-quarter points en route to an 89-79 victory.
After the Bulls sliced a double-digit deficit to 73-66 after three quarters, the Detroit Pistons began the fourth period with a 16-5 burst. Mehmet Okur, who netted 17 points, capped the run with a basket at the 4:03 mark that gave Detroit an 89-71 advantage.
“Tonight, everyone played hard,” Pistons coach Rick Carlisle said. “We knew everyone would be rusty coming off the break.”
Jalen Rose scored 18 of his 27 points in the third quarter for Chicago, which dropped its sixth straight.
“We got outworked, it seemed like every offensive rebound fell their way,” said Rose, whose eight third-quarter field goals tied a United Center record. “What really hurt us was the multiple tries.”
The Pistons held a 55-44 edge on the boards.
“We gave up 23 offensive rebounds,” Chicago coach Bill Cartwright said. “That is a lot of second chances for this team.”
Detroit shot just 36 percent (31-of-67) from the field, but turned in a typical defensive effort in the fourth quarter, holding the Bulls to 3-of-12 from the floor.
“We had to start by cleaning up the boards,” Wallace said. “We did a great job of stepping into the lane, giving up the body and taking the charge.”
The Pistons, who hold the opposition to an NBA-low 86 points per game, have not allowed an opponent to score over 84 points during their streak.
With the score tied at 6-6, the Pistons used a 15-4 run to go ahead for good. Okur had six points and Billups five in the spurt, which was capped by Billups’ 3-pointer with 2:36 to go.
“The big thing about this game is how we started, I did not like how we started,” Cartwright said. “We turned the ball over our first five times up the court, which obviously was not good.”
Wallace hauled in eight boards in the opening quarter on his way to his seventh 20-rebound game of the season.
Detroit held a 49-40 halftime lead but could not pull away as Rose caught fire. The veteran guard went 8-of-12 from the field in the quarter, including a 10-footer that pulled Chicago within 73-66 with 1.7 seconds remaining.
“Jalen is a great scorer if you give him any air space,” Carlisle said. “He will find a way to put it in the hole.”
But Detroit answered with the decisive run. Jon Barry hit a pair of 3-pointers for his only points and Okur and Williamson each scored five as the Pistons built an 89-71 lead.
“Mehmet really played well for us, I thought his effort off the bench was great,” Carlisle said.