Bulls end road drought in Detroit

When the Chicago Bulls won at Sacramento on Nov. 17, they were

hoping they’d get their next road victory before Thanksgiving.

Instead, it took until New Year’s Eve.

“I wasn’t thinking about the streak – I just wanted to get a

win,” Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said. “This was just a nice,

solid win for us.”

Derrick Rose scored 22 points, and Joakim Noah added 15

points and 21 rebounds to help the Bulls end a six-week road

drought with a 98-87 victory over Detroit.

“This feels good,” Noah said after Chicago won its third in a

row overall. “I think we are just playing better basketball right

now for whatever reason.”

Rose finished with a point more than Ben Gordon, who joined

Detroit from Chicago this summer.

“Ben’s role is to score the ball, and I’m playing point

guard, so no one said anything about this being me against him,”

Rose said. “I’ll do whatever it takes for us to win, and today that

took being aggressive.”

Chicago had lost eight straight on the road, but never

trailed while handing Detroit its ninth straight loss. The Pistons

(11-21) are 10 games under .500 for the first time since the

2000-01 season, but coach John Kuester was still encouraged.

“I saw a number of positive things out there,” he said. “I’m

sure people are going to hear that and say, ‘You must be kidding,’

but we did some good things. We lost Rip (Hamilton), Tayshaun

(Prince) and Ben Gordon for extended periods of time, and there’s

no chance that they were going to come right back in midseason

form.”

Tyrus Thomas added 19 points for Chicago (13-17), and John

Salmons had 17.

Rodney Stuckey led the Pistons with 22 points despite leaving

the game twice in the first half after spraining his left ankle.

“The first time Stuck went down, I was really concerned,

because the way he fell, I thought this was going to be another

long-term injury for us,” Kuester said. “He not only went back in,

he hurt it again and he still came back. No one would have blinked

if he had taken the rest of the day off, so he earned our

admiration.”

Stuckey acknowledged playing through severe pain in the

second half.

“It hurt a lot – it always does when you sprain your ankle –

and then it just gave out on me the second time,” he said. “I was

going to play though it if I could even walk, though, because we

need to get something going. There’s no way this group of players

should only be scoring 87 points.”

The Bulls led 44-39 after a sloppy first half that saw the

teams combine for 22 turnovers.

Detroit got to 46-44 in the third quarter, but Chicago led

69-56 at the end of the period. The Bulls led by 20 as the Palace

emptied during the fourth quarter.

NOTES: Charlie Villanueva, who had stopped wearing the mask

protecting his broken nose, put it back on for the second half, but

only wore it for a few possessions. … Detroit has not led in the

second half of any of its last six games. Their only lead in the

last two games – at home against the struggling Knicks and Bulls –

was 2-0 against New York. … Thomas had 10 points in the first

three quarters without making a field goal. He was 0 for 2 from the

floor and 10 for 12 from the line.