- Sports & Recreation
- Joakim Noah
- Detroit Pistons
- Chicago Bulls
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By Dana Gauruder, The Sports Xchange December 7, 2012 11:40 PM
Joakim Noah's career night didn't make him feel like a star. It made him feel like a wily veteran.AUBURN HILLS, Mich. --
Noah had 30 points and 23 rebounds, both career highs, as the Chicago Bulls defeated the Detroit Pistons for the 16th consecutive time, 108-104 at The Palace on Friday night. "I don't think my game has changed that much," he said. "I'm just more comfortable, knowing where I can be effective and how to get my hooks off. I feel a lot more comfortable shooting the ball, too. I'm just more comfortable on the court and I work hard on my game." Noah's rebounding and scoring went hand-in-hand. He had 10 offensive rebounds, which allowed him to get a handful of his baskets. "He was everywhere," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "It was a great all-around game, in every facet of the game. His scoring, multiple effort rebounds, defense, playmaking, the two-man game -- he had a great rhythm going, played big minutes and played hard." Noah's previous career high in points was 26 against Boston on Nov. 5, 2010. The six-year center had never previously grabbed more than 21 rebounds. "It's crazy to have numbers like that," he said. Carlos Boozer supplied 24 points for the Bulls (10-8), who erased a 17-point, first-half deficit. Luol Deng chipped in 16 points, six assists and five rebounds in Chicago's fourth victory in five games. The game featured two of the top five teams in defensive field-goal percentage but both had difficulty getting stops. The Bulls shot 52.4 percent while the Pistons (6-15) shot 51.4 percent, a season high by a Chicago opponent. "You have to win games in different ways," Thibodeau said. "I'm not pleased with our defense at all. Our rebounding was OK, but we're going to have to do better than we did today." Rodney Stuckey led Detroit, which has dropped four of its last five games, with 24 points and seven assists, while Brandon Knight added 21 points. "We did a lot of good things to go up 17 but obviously not (enough) good things," Pistons coach Lawrence Frank said. "They owned the paint tonight. Noah had a double-double both halves. Just disappointing." Kirk Hinrich's corner 3-pointer with 3:35 left in the third gave the Bulls their first lead since the opening quarter. Hinrich's free throw with 7.4 seconds left in the quarter allowed them to carry a 78-74 lead into the fourth. The Bulls maintained a slim advantage a majority of the fourth, and when Noah made a reverse layup with 5:07 left, he achieved his career high and provided his team with a 94-90 lead. "They just played harder than us," Pistons center Greg Monroe said. "They have always been a good defensive team. I don't think we had a difficult time scoring, but (Noah) gave them a lot of extra possessions." Boozer then took over offensively, scoring seven straight Bulls points. Deng's 3-pointer nudged the lead to double digits, 103-93, and Detroit never got within six the rest of the way. Chicago finished the first half on a 14-2 run, slicing Detroit's 17-point lead to 55-50. Stuckey was the catalyst in the Pistons' early success, piling up 15 points and five assists by halftime after Kyle Singler committed two fouls in the first three minutes. Charlie Villanueva gave Detroit its biggest lead with a jump hook in the lane to make it 53-36. Noah had a double-double before the break. NOTES: Bulls starting guard Richard Hamilton said Friday he could be sidelined up to a month with torn plantar fascia in his left foot. Hamilton, a longtime Piston who is averaging 13.9 points, missed his third consecutive game. ... The Bulls had a 19-game winning streak against the Pistons during the mid-1990s. Detroit's last victory over Chicago at The Palace was Dec. 23, 2008. ... Deng (40.9) and Noah (39.4) lead the NBA in minutes per game. ... Noah averaged 14 points and 12 rebounds in four games against Detroit last season. ... Detroit forward Tayshaun Prince had 13 points and has reached double figures a team-high 18 times in the first 21 games. "He's been a model of consistency," Frank said of the 32-year-old forward. "I think he's had a super season up to this point. He's been a very good stabilizing force for us."