Pistons, Bulls slug it out in Windy City

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The Chicago Bulls earned one of their biggest wins of the season last time out and will try to build on that momentum when they welcome Central Division rivals, the Detroit Pistons to the United Center Saturday night.

The Bulls knocked off the two-time defending champion Miami Heat, 107-87 Thursday night at home. That victory halted a two-game slide for Chicago and the Heat victory was the Bulls biggest since Derrick Rose went down for the season.

It was a great all-around effort from the Bulls, who shot 50 percent from the field and held the Heat to 41 percent.

Carlos Boozer led the way for the Bulls with 27 points. Luol Deng contributed 20 points, five rebounds and five assists, while Taj Gibson netted 19 off the bench and Kirk Hinrich added 13.

Perhaps Chicago's best player on Thursday was Joakim Noah. The All-Star center had 17 points and 15 rebounds, all the while extolling the Bulls crowd with his enthusiasm.

"If we played Miami 82 times a season, Jo would probably be the best player in the league," said Deng. "He loves playing against them. We all do. We get up for them. He did a great job setting the tone. From this morning he was up on everyone playing hard. During the game he was reminding everyone to keep playing hard and that's what we need from him. And when he does that we feed off his energy. We need that."

The 41 percent shooting for the Heat was a season-low, which topped the mark of 43.9 percent the Pistons held Miami en route to victory on Tuesday.

Detroit has won three in a row, including two straight on the road against Miami and Milwaukee. The Pistons knocked off the Bucks, 105-98 on Wednesday as they've won three in a row away from home and finish off a three-game road trip on Saturday.

"It feels really good. I think we are playing good basketball," said head coach Maurice Cheeks. "We are getting a lot of good performances out of a lot of people."

The Pistons starting frontline was dominant against Milwaukee. Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe and Josh Smith combined for 59 points and 42 rebounds, which was one less than the entire Bucks team managed on the glass.

Brandon Jennings had a double-double with 17 points and 11 assists and Rodney Stuckey continued his great play with 15 points in 25:06 off the bench.

Jennings returned to Milwaukee for the first time since going to Detroit in a sign-and-trade deal in the offseason.

"I was real nervous. I mean, to be honest, I was real nervous in the beginning because I'm not used to being on this side," admitted Jennings. "It was a lot of emotions going on, but once the second half started, I was able to settle down and just play basketball."

The Bulls beat the Pistons in Chicago on Nov. 27, 99-79. The Pistons snapped an 18-game losing streak to the Bulls last season, but the Bulls have won 14 straight at home in this series.