Pistons blow late lead to Bulls

CHICAGO (AP) — Luol Deng scored 28 points,
Jimmy Butler and Nate Robinson each added 16, and the Chicago Bulls beat
Detroit 95-94 to extend their winning streak to 18 straight against the

Rodney Stuckey scored 25 points and Greg
Monroe added 18 points for the Pistons, who have not beaten Chicago
since Dec. 23, 2008.

The Bulls rallied from a 13-point
deficit to tie the score 78-all with 9:27 remaining on Butler’s dunk
after a steal. Robinson then fed Deng for a layup for an 80-78 lead,
Chicago’s first advantage since 1-0.

Deng and Robinson each hit 3-pointers to
extend the Bulls’ lead to 91-84. Stuckey’s layup cut Chicago’s lead to
one with 1:27 left before Deng had a layup for a 94-91 lead. Charlie
Villaneuva missed a 3 with 5.9 seconds left and Daequan Cook made a free

Stuckey made a 3 before the buzzer for the final margin.

Chicago also rallied from 17-point
deficits in each of its two previous games against Detroit this season.
The Pistons last defeated the Bulls at the United Center on Feb. 24,

Detroit shot 50 percent (36 for 72) from the field while the Bulls shot 40 percent (30 for 76).

The Pistons jumped out to leads of 9-1
and 18-5, and led 24-20 after the first quarter. Cook hit a 3-pointer
and a free throw with 15.5 seconds left before halftime to cut Detroit’s
lead to 55-53.

Stuckey made a running jumper with 2.8 seconds left to put the Pistons up four at the break..

Detroit shot 60 percent from the field
in the first half, while the Bulls were at 43 percent. Stuckey led the
Pistons with 16 points and Deng led Chicago with 12.

Chicago also struggled with free throws, missing 13 of 40.

Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson each added 11 points for the Bulls and Cook finished with 10.

Villanueva had 14 and Jose Calderon added 11 for Detroit.

Robinson and Pistons forward Kyle
Singler each received technical fouls and Pistons guard Brandon Knight
was called for a flagrant foul with 2:32 remaining in the first quarter
after Knight was called for a travel and raised his arm, hitting Butler
in the face. Robinson then appeared to push Knight, and Singler and
other players joined the fray before the players were separated. Butler
made both free throws to cut Detroit’s lead to 24-15.

Joakim Noah and Marco Belinelli sat out
for the Bulls. Noah has missed five straight games for plantar
fasciitis in his right foot, and Belinelli has sat out four games with a
strained abdominal muscle. Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said both players
are day to day. Noah had career highs of 30 points and 23 rebounds
against Detroit on Dec. 7.

Will Bynum (hand) and Jason Maxiell (eye) were out for the Pistons. Maxiell remained in Detroit to get his eye examined.

Chicago went 7-7 in March.

The NBA upgraded Gibson’s shooting foul against LeBron James in the
Bulls’ 101-97 victory over the Miami Heat on Wednesday to a flagrant
foul, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel. The victory snapped
Miami’s 27-game winning streak, the second longest in NBA history. “I
guess we have to call the league and get clarification,” Thibodeau said.
“I didn’t see it that way. I still don’t have a good understanding of
what a flagrant foul is. I thought I got some clarity last year, but
apparently I didn’t.” … Knight returned for the Pistons from an ankle
injury he suffered Friday.