The Chicago Bulls stayed ahead of the Detroit Pistons throughout Friday night’s game, but the Pistons picked up the pace and pushed for a comeback late in the game.The Bulls held on to a five point lead to shut down the Pistons.
Derrick Rose scored 13 of his 27 points in the first quarter and had a key assist in the final minute of the game, helping the Chicago Bulls hold off the Detroit Pistons 101-96 on Friday night.
The Eastern Conference-leading Bulls enjoyed a comfortable lead for much of the game but the lowly Pistons pulled within three a couple times late in the final period.
Rose made a perfect pass to set up Ronnie Brewer’s layup for a six-point lead with 34 seconds left and the MVP candidate made two free throws with 5.8 seconds remaining to seal the win.
Chicago’s Carlos Boozer had 22 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.
Richard Hamilton scored 30, Tayshaun Prince had 17 points and Will Bynum added 12 for the Pistons.
The Bulls were without center Joakim Noah because of a sprained right ankle. His replacement, Kurt Thomas, grabbed an offensive rebound and made a baseline jumper to give Chicago a six-point lead with just under a minute left.
Chicago also got contributions from Luol Deng, who scored 15, and reserve Ronnie Brewer, who added nine points.
Detroit decided to rest Tracy McGrady’s tired legs and put Bynum in the lineup after giving Rodney Stuckey the option of starting or coming off the bench.
Rose made sure the Bulls wouldn’t overlook the Pistons, making 4 of 5 shots and collecting three assists and three steals in the first 12 minutes of the game.
He gave the Bulls a scare in the second half when he limped off the court, trying to keep weight off his left ankle, but he was back after a timeout and made an assist on the ensuing possession.
NOTES: After the Pistons retired his No. 10 jersey, Dennis Rodman said he has been informed he will be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. … Noah said his ankle is feeling better, but he didn’t know when he would be healthy enough to play.
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