The Bulls insist they’re not watching the scoreboard. But it sure looked like they were Friday night. Mired in a sloppy effort at both ends of the floor and trailing the Detroit Pistons by 18 points in the third quarter, the Bulls started a rally that coincided with the news that the Toronto Raptors had lost to the Knicks at home and roared back for a 106-98 victory before a sellout crowd of 22,219 at the United Center. D.J. Augustin (24 points) and Taj Gibson (17 points) ignited a 15-0 run in the fourth quarter that turned an 83-75 deficit into a 90-83 lead and the Bulls (47-32) held on to take a one-game lead over the Raptors (46-33) for the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference. Toronto lost to the Knicks 108-100 at Air Canada Centre. The Bulls and the Raptors each have three games remaining in the regular-season. Carlos Boozer scored 18 points, Mike Dunleavy scored all 14 of his points in the second half, Jimmy Butler added 13 points, Kirk Hinrich 10 and Joakim Noah added six points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists for the Bulls. For most of the night it appeared the Bulls would squander the opportunity as they were dominated by Pistons center Andre Drummond, who finished with 24 points and 26 rebounds. Drummond out rebounded the Bulls by himself 19-17 in the first half. The Bulls trailed 82-72 early in the fourth quarter. Dunleavy hit a three-pointer to make it 82-75 and Augustin hit back-to-back jumpers and two free throws for an 83-all tie with 8:10 to play, Once the Bulls had momentum they never let go of it. Butler scored off a feed from Augustin, Gibson covered a three-point play off a fast-break basket and then hit two free throws to complete the 15-0 run that gave the Bulls a 90-83 lead. Prior to the game against the Pistons, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau was asked if he might consider resting starters if the Bulls’ playoff situation is settled before the end of the regular season. But Thibodeau wasn’t biting. ‘’We’re just worried about Detroit — step-by-step,’’ Thibodeau said, predictably. ‘’I think that approach has served us well. I don’t want to change how we do anything — just worry about our improvement, get ready for Detroit and everything will take care of itself.’’ Though the Bulls came into the game with 14 consecutive victories against non-playoff/sub .500 teams and the Pistons had not beaten a winning team since Feb. 10, it’s difficult to argue with Thibodeau’s logic — especially after the Bulls had more than they could handle from the struggling Pistons. Center Andre Drummond dominated the first half, scoring 12 points and out rebounding the Bulls by himself, 19-17, as the Pistons shot 51 percent (23-of-45) and out rebounded the Bulls 31-17 in taking a 56-38 lead at halftime.
Bulls beat Pistons, overtake Raptors for No. 3 seed
Chicago Sun-Times | Apr 12