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Pistons beat Bulls for first time since 2008

The SportsXchange

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- At last, Jonas Jerebko and his Detroit Pistons teammates know what it feels like to beat the Chicago Bulls.

With a big lift from Jerebko, the Pistons snapped an 18-game losing streak to their Central Division rival with a 99-85 victory at The Palace. The Pistons' last win over the Bulls was Dec. 23, 2008.

Jerebko, who entered the league in 2009, sparked his club off the bench with 17 points and nine rebounds. The Pistons had come close in all three previous meetings this season, losing by a total of eight points, before their breakthrough performance.

"It's been way too long," Jerebko said. "This is my fourth year and not getting a win against the Bulls and this year losing by eight points total in three losses, we were due for a win. It felt good to finally get it."

Brandon Knight had 20 points and five assists for the Pistons (26-52). Rodney Stuckey, who scored a career-high 40 points in Detroit's last win over Chicago, chipped in 14 points and five assists as the Pistons also won at home for the first time since Feb. 13, ending an eight-game slide.

Their futility against the Bulls dominated their thoughts entering the game.

"Trust me, we talked about it," Detroit coach Lawrence Frank said. "We hadn't beaten them since (19-year-old center) Andre (Drummond) was born. But it wasn't like we were that far away. Obviously, they're ahead of us in the big picture but we've played these guys tough. It wasn't like we had to reinvent the formula. We just needed a little bit more for a little bit longer."

After trailing by 11 in the first quarter, the Pistons grabbed the lead early in the second and never relinquished it. They shot 53.4 percent, had six players in double figures and out-rebounded the Bulls 40-33.

"It feels good to finish out a game strong against them, where we were the team not to make the mistakes and to capitalize on their mistakes," Knight said.

Carlos Boozer led Chicago (42-34) with 21 points and 10 rebounds, his eighth double-double in 10 games. Nate Robinson added 18 points but the Bulls dropped two games behind Brooklyn for the fourth-best record in the Eastern Conference.

Chicago's top defender, Joakim Noah, returned after an eight-game absence caused by plantar fasciitis in his right foot. Noah, who posted career highs of 30 points and 23 rebounds in his last visit to The Palace in December, had 13 points and seven rebounds.

Marco Belinelli played for the first time in eight games after recovering from an abdominal strain but didn't score in 20 minutes. Starting small forward Luol Deng sat out with a hip injury.

"I thought defensively we were very poor," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "The one thing about Luol is that he will give you that edge. When he's out, we need people to step up and give us that edge. We have to get that back and we have to get it back quick."

Thibodeau gave a pass to Noah and Belinelli.

"It was some good and some bad," he said. "They cannot miss the amount of time that they missed and not show it. Unfortunately, the games keep coming."

Knight scored 12 third-quarter points to lift the Pistons to a 75-67 lead. Knight's perimeter shooting was complemented later in the quarter by Monroe's interior presence. He made a layup and hook shot, then fed Will Bynum with a bounce pass for another layup. Boozer helped his team stay in contact by scoring eight points in the quarter, including a last-second layup.

Jerebko's layup with 9:23 remaining bumped Detroit's lead to 79-67. His fast-break dunk off a Bynum steal made it 85-71 with 6:39 left. Another Jerebko dunk off a Chicago turnover gave his club a 91-78 lead with 2:47 to go.

NOTES: Monroe chipped in 11 points, seven rebounds and seven assists for the Pistons. ... Detroit point guard Jose Calderon did not play for the second time in three games because of a right triceps strain. It's uncertain whether he will return this season. "What we're not going to do is yo-yo him back and forth," Pistons coach Lawrence Frank said. "We want to get it right before he comes back." ... The Bulls' Richard Hamilton missed his 19th straight game with a lower back injury and Taj Gibson sat out for the third consecutive game with a left knee strain. ... Chicago's longest winning streak in franchise history is 19, also against Detroit in the mid-1990s. ... The Pistons were 10 games over .500 in early January of the 2008-09 season. They are 106 games under .500 since that point (1245-231). ... Boozer was averaging 18.9 points and 11.9 rebounds in the previous nine games. ... The Pistons' Kyle Singler has 66 3-pointers, third-most in franchise history by a rookie behind Knight (105) and Lindsay Hunter (69).
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