Bulls sputter out down the stretch in Detroit

The Bulls Tuesday lost their fourth in the last five games and sixth in the last nine in a 102-91 defeat by the Detroit Pistons.

The Bulls overcame a 17-point first half deficit and took their first lead of the game late in the third quarter. But they lost momentum midway through the fourth quarter as the Pistons stretched out a lead behind their reserves.

The Bulls were led by Jimmy Butler with 32 points. Dwyane Wade had 19 points and seven assists, Taj Gibson had 11 points and 10 rebounds and Rajon Rondo 10 points. The Pistons bench had a 33-11 advantage. The Bulls are 11-10 and the Pistons moved to 12-11.

Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said before the game that Doug McDermott’s practices with the Windy City Bulls were going well and a determination would be made whether he can play later this week. The Bulls host the San Antonio Spurs Thursday in the late game on national TNT. Michael Carter-Williams was to have his cast changed on his injured wrist, and Hoiberg said he’d be examined again in 10 days. So he obviously is a few weeks away from playing. The Bulls looked like a team playing its fourth game in five nights, which they were, and the Pistons scored the first eight points and had a 21-11 lead seven minutes into the game. Big man Andre Drummond and Marcus Morris, two players who bedeviled the Bulls last season, each had 10 first quarter points as the Pistons ran at the Bulls for a 9-0 first quarter fast break lead and took a 32-21 lead on 57 percent shooting.

It was Rondo’s return from a one-game suspension for detrimental conduct and he led the Bulls with eight first quarter points, even opening their scoring with a three. The Pistons looked like they were about to make it no contest in the second quarter with a 44-29 lead midway through the quarter against a struggling Bulls team that was being outrun by Jon Leuer. But the Bulls found an answer in Butler, who made a pair of jumpers in a run of 10 consecutive Bulls points. Butler added another basket, his 14th point of the quarter, on a lob dunk from Wade on a run out and the Bulls were back into the game, trailing 51-44 at halftime after a 10-0 run to close the half. The Bulls still had eight assists in the half to 18 for Detroit.

The Bulls seemed to gain a second wind with the second quarter comeback and scored the first six points of the third quarter for an overall 16-0 run before a Kentavious Caldwell-Pope score gave the Pistons a 53-50 lead. The Bulls finally began finding Gibson inside and stayed within 59-58 with 6:35 left in the third quarter. Cristiano Felicio getting playing time in place of Bobby Portis tipped in an Isaiah Canaan miss, Gibson dove on the floor after stripping Reggie Jackson for a save and a Wade hanging layup to close the third quarter gave the Bulls a 72-71 lead going into the final quarter. The Bulls were still on the edge with 8:44 left, trailing 76-75 when Rondo missed a pair of free throws to go ahead and then lost the ball. The Pistons took advantage with their bench with big man Aron Baynes and Leuer inside and Darrun Hilliard making a three and a run out fast break to hold off scoring by Butler. The Pistons surged to an 89-79 lead with 5:48 left. The Pistons led 94-84 with under three minutes left when the Bulls intentionally fouled Andre Drummond.