Deng, Noah lead Bulls past Pistons 83-71
CHICAGO – Luol Deng scored 20 points, Joakim Noah added 19 points and 12 rebounds, and the Chicago Bulls beat the Detroit Pistons 83-71 on Friday night.
The Bulls scored the final eight points after the Pistons closed within four with just under 5 minutes left and came away with their 14th straight win against Detroit. In the process, they improved their league-best record to 42-11 even though star Derrick Rose and Richard Hamilton remained sidelined by injuries.
Deng came through again after scoring 22 in in a lopsided win over Atlanta on Wednesday and Noah was his usual relentless self, helping Chicago win again despite all its bumps and bruises.
Rose missed his ninth straight game because of a right groin injury, but the Bulls improved to 14-5 without the defending league MVP. Hamilton has barely been able to get on the court because of a variety of injuries after signing with Chicago.
He was hoping to return from a sprained right shoulder against his former team, but sat out this 13th consecutive game after participating in the morning shootaround and going through warmups. Whether he or Rose plays Sunday at Oklahoma City remains to be seen.
The Pistons were hardly a picture of health with Rodney Stuckey (sore left hamstring) and Ben Gordon (sore right groin). Austin Daye started at shooting guard and finished with 11 points.
Brandon Knight scored 16 points, and Tayshaun Prince had 14 after tying a season high with 29 in an 87-75 win over Cleveland on Wednesday. Greg Monroe added 14 points and 10 rebounds, but the Pistons remained winless against the Bulls since beating them at the Palace of Auburn Hills in December 2008.
They were dominated 53-37 on the boards and shot just under 37 percent for the game. They didn't even attempt a free throw until Jason Maxiell made 1 of 2 midway through the third and were 6 of 7 for the game.
The Bulls appeared to be in good shape after Kyle Korver started the fourth with a 3-pointer and Taj Gibson followed with a three-point play and layup off a nice feed from Omer Asik. Just like that, the Bulls turned a four-point led into a 73-61 advantage, but the Pistons weren't finished.
They cut it to 75-71 on Knight's jumper with 4:50 left but didn't score again after that. Chicago's C.J. Watson then hit two free throws, and Noah fed Boozer for a basket after rebounding a missed 3 by Korver, making it an eight-point game with just under four minutes left, and the Bulls hung on from there.
Notes: Pistons coach Lawrence Frank couldn't resist taking a playful jab when asked before the game about Stuckey and Gordon. "They're both day-by-day," he said. "What has Derrick Rose been a game time decision for two weeks?" Stuckey was injured in the first quarter against Cleveland on Wednesday. Gordon missed his second straight game. ... The Bulls have won 12 straight at home against the Pistons since a loss on Feb. 24, 2006.