The Detroit Pistons Wednesday pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 114-91 victory over the Bulls in the United Center. It left the Bulls 2-3 in the preseason. The Bulls next play Monday in Charlotte.
The Pistons broke open a close game through three quarters in dominating a five some of mostly Bulls deep reserves with a 15-0 run after the Pistons led by one with nine minutes remaining. The Bulls were led by E’Twaun Moore with 16 points, Aaron Brooks with 13 and Doug McDermott with 12. The Pistons shot 54.4 percent while the Bulls were six of 21 on threes.
The Bulls got some welcome news with Taj Gibson playing his first game of the preseason after ankle surgery last June. Gibson was strong inside and swift. The Bulls also got back Joakim Noah after missing two games with a knee bruise as he started with Pau Gasol and Nikola Mirotic in a big lineup. It was also welcome for the Bulls to see Derrick Rose go through a long, pregame shooting drills, though Rose’s left eye remained swollen. The Pistons then continued to swell the offensive totals against the Bulls with a 28-21 first quarter lead.
The Pistons shot 54.5 percent as it remained difficult to sustain defensive coordination with the changing lineups. Bobby Portis continued to impress with nine points in just a five-minute first half stint, running the court and hitting a three as the Bulls pulled within 51-50 at halftime. Coach Fred Hoiberg then went back to a more conventional lineup, starting the second half with Pau Gasol, Mirotic, McDermott, Jimmy Butler and Moore in the second half. Mirotic immediately hit a pair of threes as the Bulls moved into a more comfortable offensive rhythm. But the Pistons behind guard Reggie Jackson with 20 through three led 76-75 entering the fourth quarter.