The Pistons picked up their defensive pressure in the second half, and held the Bulls to 11-for-40 shooting in the final two quarters.
“I think, as the game gets later, we get better. We really tighten up our defense. That’s what makes us a great team,” Hamilton said.
Ben Gordon gave Chicago a 70-69 lead on a jumper with 7:39 left, then Hamilton sparked a 14-4 run. Prince scored on a runner and then hit two free throws, giving Detroit a 75-70 lead. Hamilton capped the run with six straight points, making a jumper, a 3 and one of two free throws to give Detroit a 83-74 lead.
“He (Hamilton) was hitting tough shots, he’s that type of a player, he had it going a little bit and he’s tough to stop,” said Kirk Hinrich. “We had smaller guys on him and he was shooting over us a little bit, he’s fast and he’s good at using (screens). He hurt us.”
The Pistons didn’t waste the opportunity with Curry out, outscoring the Bulls 42-14 in the paint.
“They rely on him so much on the inside, getting him the ball early. Without him, its big,” Hamilton said.
Gordon scored 27 points in a reserve role for Chicago, and Hinrich added 19.
After Rasheed Wallace’s jumper to start the third quarter, Hinrich scored seven straight points to give Chicago a 51-41 lead.
Trailing 56-47 late in the third quarter, the Pistons rolled off 12 straight points to take the lead. Ben Wallace was rejected by Chandler, but picked up the loose ball and scored before being fouled. Ben Wallace missed the free throw, Ronald Dupree got the rebound and missed a shot, but McDyess made the putback to give the Pistons’ a 57-56 lead—their first of the second half. The next time down, Dupree made two free throws to extend the lead to 59-56.
Gordon led Chicago with 17 points in the first half, scoring all the points in the second quarter. He beat the buzzer at the end of the first half with a runner to give Chicago a 44-39 lead at the break. Gordon scored eight points in the final 1:50 of the second period.
Bulls head coach Scott Skiles isn’t ready to start Gordon and increase his minutes.
“I have said this many times, Ben does not have the stamina to play huge, huge, minutes of a game, and I thought tonight was a great example of that,” said Skiles. “He was taken advantage on the defensive end and struggled to make shots, he struggled even to get open in the second half. half.”
Chauncey Billups and Hamilton each had eight points for the Pistons in the first half.
The Pistons missed their first nine shots and trailed 21-14 at the end of the first quarter. They shot 4-of-19 in the quarter, while Luol Deng had eight points for Chicago.
The Pistons played the second of six straight sets of back-to-back games. … Deng scored 13 points for Chicago.