Luol Deng scored 28 points, including 13 in the fourth quarter, and grabbed nine boards, as the Chicago Bulls held off the Detroit Pistons, 95-94, on Sunday.
Jimmy Butler and Nate Robinson scored 16 points apiece, with Butler recording five steals for the Bulls, who have won four of their last five games.
"I was concerned about this game, coming off one yesterday and understanding how important it is to be ready," said Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau. "We dodged a bullet. We were fortunate. We got out of a hole."
Chicago has won 18 straight against Detroit. The Pistons last defeated the Bulls on Dec. 23, 2008.
Rodney Stuckey had a team-high 25 points off the bench for the Pistons, who are on a three-game losing streak and have lost 10 of their last 14 games. Greg Monroe had 18 points and 10 rebounds and Charlie Villanueva tallied 14 points in the setback.
"This isn't a one-player problem," said Pistons coach Lawrence Frank. "This isn't a one-coach problem. This is a team problem that we all have to share the responsibility. We all want to get this right. We'll find [the answers] whether they're here on our roster now or whether it's [someone else] in the future that will play at a whole lot more competitive level. We're capable of doing a whole lot more."
At halftime, Detroit had a 57-53 edge.
The Pistons extended their lead by eight, 70-62, with 5:07 to play in the third period. However, the Bulls slowly made their way back.
Neither team scored a field goal in the final 1:58, but Deng hit one of his two free throws with 31 seconds left and cut Detroit's lead to three, 74-71, entering the fourth quarter.
Deng then powered the Bulls to victory in the fourth. With 8:37 remaining in regulation, he made a running layup to give the Bulls the lead, 80-78.
Chicago increased its margin to seven, 91-84, after a 3-pointer by Robinson with 3:55 left, but Detroit did not quit.
The Pistons went on a 7-1 spurt, capped with a layup by Stuckey, to bring them within one, 92-91, with 1:27 remaining.
However, Deng made a putback layup and Daequan Cook sank one of his two free throws with 4.9 seconds left to put the game out of reach. Stuckey drilled a 3-pointer at the buzzer, but it was too late.
Entering the second quarter, the Pistons led 24-20.
Stuckey and Villanueva scored 16 and 10 points, respectively, in the second period. However, Robinson had 11 points to help keep the Bulls in the game.
Deng shot 11-of-17 from the foul line ... Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson scored 11 points apiece for the Bulls ... Detroit's Andre Drummond had 14 rebounds ... Chicago leads the season series by a 3-0 margin and has automatically won the series for the fifth straight season ... The two teams play one more time this season on April 7, in Chicago. If Chicago wins, they will sweep Detroit for the fourth consecutive season.