Bill Smith/Chicago Bulls

Bulls edge Pistons

Bulls improve to 46-30 on the season

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By Sam Smith | 4.03.2015 | 9:27 p.m. CT

The Bulls got a dramatic put back slam dunk for a three point play Friday from Pau Gasol to rescue an 88-82 victory over the Detroit Pistons.

Gasol finished with 26 points and 10 rebounds in helping the Bulls to 46-30 with their sixth win in the last eight games. Jimmy Butler added 18 points and Aaron Brooks had a big close with five straight points after the Pistons had tied the game at 78 with 2:25 remaining.

The Pistons got 22 points from Reggie Jackson and 14 points and 22 rebounds from Andre Drummond. For Gasol, it was his league leading 50th double-double of the season.

The Bulls got off to a fast start behind Pau Gasol, who would have 11 first quarter points and took advantage of the mismatch with Anthony Tolliver. But Reggie Jackson with 12 in the first proved problematic again while coach Tom Thibodeau and Taj Gibson picked up technical fouls as the Pistons took a 26-25 first quarter lead. The Bulls then showed their best defense with Jimmy Butler and Gibson leading the way with a suffocating second quarter effort that gave the Bulls a 47-35 halftime lead with the Pistons held to nine second quarter points. The Bulls finished a 14-0 run early in the third quarter for a 51-35 but then fell apart as the Pistons began making threes and tied at game at 59 after three quarters.

Observations:

1. It continues to be an unsteady build toward the playoffs for the Bulls as the offense continues to function erratically with long slumps during games that have enabled lesser teams to compete. It has to be a concern with this the easiest part of the schedule.

2. Taj Gibson, who has waited patiently for chances with the development of Nikola Mirotic, continues to be a vital defender and rebounder who will be important in the playoffs.

3. It was another good fourth quarter for Nikola Mirotic, who helped push the Bulls back in the lead early in the fourth. Mirotic earlier in the day was named NBA March Rookie of the Month, his second monthly rookie award of the season.