Notebook: Bulls 85, Pistons 82



Posted Jan 23, 2013 11:30 PM

Kent McDill, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: A layup and free throw by Marco Belinelli off a save assist from out of bounds by Joakim Noah gave the host Chicago Bulls an 85-82 come-from-behind victory over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday. The Pistons, who have now lost 17 straight to the Bulls and 13 in a row at the United Center, led by 17 points early in the third quarter. Bulls guard Nate Robinson scored nine consecutive points in the fourth quarter to spearhead the comeback. Jimmy Butler, playing in place of injured forward Luol Deng, led six Bulls players in double figures with 18 points. Noah finished with 10 points and 18 rebounds. Brandon Knight led the Pistons with 13 points.

THE FACTS II: The Pistons scored the first eight points of the third quarter to build a 55-38 lead and they led by 11 going into the fourth quarter. From the 17-point lead to the end of the game, they were 11-for-36 from the field (30.5 percent).

THE FACTS III: The game-winning basket came after Belinelli badly missed a 3-pointer from left of the basket. Noah flipped the ball from out of bounds to Belinelli, who made a quick move to the basket for his layup. Detroit coach Lawrence Frank said he thought the ball was out of bounds before Noah got to it.

QUOTABLE I: "It was Belinelli's second sort of random game-winner."

-- Frank, referring to Belinelli's falling down game-winner against Boston last week.

THE STAT: In three starts in place of Deng, Butler is averaging 15.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, with five steals and only two turnovers.

THE STAT II: The Bulls outscored the Pistons 20-10 from the free throw line (26-14 in attempts). The Pistons only went to the line six times in the second half and made just three.

THE STAT III: When the Bulls beat the Pistons in Detroit on Dec. 7, the Pistons led by 17 points in the second quarter. The scores were almost identical -- 53-36 on Dec. 7 and 55-38 Wednesday.

TURNING POINT: When Taj Gibson tapped a bank shot off a missed shot by Robinson, it gave the Bulls a 75-73 lead with 6:02 remaining. It was the Bulls' first lead since going ahead 2-0 on the first basket of the game.

INJURY UPDATE: Deng sat out his third straight game because of his strained right hamstring.

HOT: Gibson made five of seven shots for 14 points and had four rebounds off the bench for the Bulls.

NOT: Rodney Stuckey put up a game-high 16 shots for the Pistons but made just five of them, and missed all four of his 3-pointers.

QUOTABLE II: "Quite frankly I don't know how he got to it. Jo is something."

-- Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau on Noah's game-saving assist

QUOTABLE III: "It could have gone either way. If they get it, it may have been a transition basket. Fortunately, Marco got it."

-- Noah on his game-winning assist

GOOD MOVE: The offseason acquisition of flaky and spirited point guard Nate Robinson has paid off numerous times for the Bulls, although his playing time could disappear entirely when Derrick Rose returns.

BAD MOVE/ROOKIE WATCH: The best player on the Pistons Wednesday might have been rookie starter Kyle Singler, who made five of seven shots for his 12 points but played less than 25 minutes.

NOTABLE: In two games against Detroit this season, Noah has 41 rebounds... The Bulls are 12-10 at home, the first time they have been two games over .500 at the United Center since being 8-6 on Dec. 18. ... The Pistons are 4-15 on the road and have not won consecutive road games this season. ... The Bulls finish the first half of the season 25-16 despite not having their best player, Rose, for the entire season so far. ... The Bulls will be watching the All-Star reserve announcements closely Thursday with hopes Carlos Boozer or Noah will get the nod.

UP NEXT: For the Bulls, Friday vs. Golden State, Saturday @ Washington, Monday vs. Charlotte. For the Pistons, Friday @ Miami, Sunday @ Orlando, Tuesday vs. Milwaukee.