Pistons lose to Bulls, 98-87

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) 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.

Updated December 31, 2009