Salmons, Rose lead Bulls
CHICAGO (AP)—Ben Gordon(notes) shrugged off the boos that poured down from the stands every time he touched the ball. He expected them on his return to the United Center after leaving the Chicago Bulls and signing with the Detroit Pistons.
“It is what it is. It’s not like I won the championship while I was here or anything,” Gordon said Wednesday night after his former team, the Bulls, beat the Pistons 92-85.
“I just had a couple of good years, so I wasn’t surprised at all. … I expected that, seeing past players come back after going to another team.”
Gordon actually had more than a couple of good years with the Bulls. During his career in Chicago, he was voted the NBA’s top sixth man and led the Bulls in scoring his last four seasons. Then he signed a five-year, $55 million deal with the Pistons.
“I have already moved forward. This was just another game for me. It really wasn’t that big of a deal,” Gordon said. “I moved on a long time ago. I have no bitter feelings toward the Bulls. I did what I had to do. It’s just part of business.”
John Salmons(notes) scored 22 points and Derrick Rose(notes) added 19 as the Bulls ended a five-game losing streak. After the game, several of Gordon’s former teammates went up to him and offered a hug or a handshake.
Gordon scored 18 points on 6-of-16 shooting and picked up five fouls.
“Better to play with him than against him, I can tell you that,” said Salmons. “I chased him around all game. Tough guard. Man, he’s a good player.”
The Bulls used an 11-0 third-quarter run to pull out to a comfortable lead and get a victory in their first home game since a 1-5 trip, mostly to the West Coast.
Gordon entered the game with 6:24 left in the first quarter to a mixed greeting that was mostly boos. And when he went to the line less than 2 minutes later, the boos grew louder before turning to cheers when he missed the free throw. The boos continued most of the night.
Gordon, who missed the Pistons’ previous two games with a sprained left ankle, finished the half with five points and three fouls.
“I wasn’t 100 percent, but I figured I’d go out there and make a sacrifice for the team and try to get us a win. … We had a lot of guys out,” Gordon said.
“When he has the ball and shoots, you always think it’s going in,” Chicago coach Vinny Del Negro said. “You could tell he was hobbling a little with the ankle. … He’s moved on and we moved on. Ben did a lot of good things here.”
The Pistons clipped a 10-point halftime deficit to three in the third quarter before the Bulls took off. Rose drove through the lane for a hoop, Joakim Noah(notes) hit a short jumper, Salmons connected on a 3-pointer before taking a nice pass from Rose for a layup and Brad Miller(notes) followed in a shot during the 11-0 run that put the Bulls up 63-49. They led by 17 after three quarters.
Detroit scrapped in the final quarter and whittled the lead to five with 16 seconds left on Gordon’s two free throws before Miller hit a pair from the line to ice it.
The Bulls jumped out to a 23-6 lead against the cold-shooting Pistons and led 24-10 at the end of the first quarter. Detroit, missing injured stars Richard Hamilton(notes) (ankle), Tayshaun Prince(notes) (back) and Charlie Villanueva(notes) (broken nose), shot 5 of 20 in the opening period.
Chicago led 48-38 at the half behind 13 points from Salmons and 50 percent shooting.