Pistons 77, Bulls 73

Preview | Box Score | Recap

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP)—The Detroit Pistons are looking for more satisfaction even after ending a four-game losing streak.

Detroit beat the short-handed Chicago Bulls 77-73 Wednesday night, but didn’t enjoy the way they achieved victory.

“A win is a win, but we just had to fight to win at home against a Chicago Bulls team that didn’t have any players,” said Ben Wallace, who had 15 rebounds and eight blocked shots. “We had things going our way and then we relaxed and started making selfish plays and let them right back in it. We can’t keep doing that.”

Richard Hamilton led the Pistons with 20 points, including eight in the fourth quarter, and Jamal Crawford had 22 for Chicago.

The Bulls shot 31.3 percent from the floor while having just nine available players. Eddy Curry and Corie Blount weren’t in uniform because of knee injuries, and Eddie Robinson sat out with an ankle problem.

“From a coaching standpoint, when you are as short-handed as we are, you really have to be proud of the team and our effort,” Bulls coach Scott Skiles said. “If we could have just shot a decent percent from the floor, we would have won this game.”

The win was Larry Brown’s 1,300th as a coach—894 in the NBA, 229 in the ABA and 177 in college.

“This one was ugly,” he said. “Thank God that Rip and Ben were unbelievable down the stretch. They saved the game.”

The Bulls led 70-69 with 3:46 to play, but went scoreless for the next 2:22 as Detroit grabbed a 73-70 lead. The advantage could have been bigger, but Chauncey Billups, an 89 percent free-throw shooter, missed two from the line with 2:20 to go.

Jerome Williams broke the Chicago slump with a jumper, and a Pistons miss gave the Bulls the chance to take the lead.

However, Rick Brunson missed a 3-pointer, and the Bulls fouled Hamilton with 33.6 seconds left.

Hamilton hit both shots to make it 75-72, and Chicago rookie Kirk Hinrich split a pair of free throws at the other end to bring the Bulls within two.

Brunson then committed an away-from-the-ball foul, giving Detroit a free throw and possession. Billups missed again from the line, but Chucky Atkins hit an underhanded layup with seven seconds left to clinch the game.

“We were getting some wide-open shots and if we had done a better job of making them, this would have been a different ballgame,” Bulls center Antonio Davis said. “Everything didn’t go our way, but we feel good about the effort we put forth.”

Detroit led 35-25 after a lethargic first half. Chicago shot 22 percent (9-for-41) in the half and missed all 10 3-point attempts.

“That was amazing,” Billups said. “We scored 35 points in a half and were up 10.”

Crawford’s 11 third-quarter points helped Chicago stay within 56-49 at period’s end.

The teams traded baskets in the fourth until Brunson hit back-to-back 3-pointers to cut the Pistons lead to 62-60 with seven minutes left. Moments later, another jumper by Brunson and two by Crawford gave the Bulls a 14-2 run and a 68-64 lead.

Detroit scored the next five points to regain the lead, but Williams scoredto put the Bulls ahead and set up the finish.

Notes

Chicago’s 25 first-half points narrowly missed franchise records for both teams. Detroit allowed 24 points in a half last season against Denver. The Bulls scored only 24 against Miami in 1999. … Detroit has won six straight against the Bulls and 10 of 11. … The Bulls shot 4-for-22 (18.2 percent) in their 11-point second quarter. … Mehmet Okur replaced Elden Campbell in theDetroit starting lineup.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Chicago
A. Davis A. Davis
3-9,  10 Pts
14 Rebs, 3 Assists
 Detroit
R. Hamilton R. Hamilton
8-13,  20 Pts
4 Rebs, 5 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists