Created: 11/28/2013 12:05 AM WHEC.com
(AP) AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - Taj Gibson had a career-high 23 points and the Chicago Bulls pulled away in the fourth quarter to beat the Detroit Pistons 99-79 Wednesday night.
The Pistons stayed close for most of the game, but managed only seven points in the first 10 minutes of the fourth quarter. That allowed Chicago to increase their lead to as many as 24 points as they ended a four-game losing streak.
Luol Deng led the Bulls with 27 points. Rodney Stuckey finished with 25 off the bench for Detroit but no one else had more than 13. Josh Smith had 13 points and 11 rebounds and Andre Drummond had 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Pistons.
Neither team played much defense in the first half, with the Pistons shooting 58.5 percent to Chicago’s 52.4 percent. Stuckey and Gibson both had 15 points off the bench, and each team also had two starters in double figures by halftime.
Detroit led 53-51 going into the third quarter, but six quick points from Joakim Noah helped Chicago put together a 18-8 that put them ahead 69-61 late in the period. The Bulls had three straight possessions with a chance to move the margin into double figures, but two misses on open jumpers and a fast-break turnover let the Pistons stay close.
Stuckey finally ended Detroit’s drought with a pair of baskets, and the Pistons were within 69-65. The fight back was short-lived, though, and the Bulls had the advantage back to 76-68 by quarter’s end. The margin stayed in the high single figures for the early part of the fourth, but Detroit started to struggle when Mo Cheeks took Stuckey out of the game.
It was 86-75 when Stuckey returned with five minutes left, and Kirk Hinrich immediately hit a three-point play to make it a 14-point game. Detroit went ten straight possessions without scoring before Gigi Datome’s jumper made it 99-77 with 1:31 to go. Datome finished with four points on his 26th birthday.
NOTES: Michigan native Floyd Mayweather Jr. was seated at courtside, a few seats away from Pistons owner Tom Gores. Mayweather, accompanied by a large entourage, engaged in some friendly banter with Bulls players, including an imitation of Joakim Noah’s unusual free-throw style. He also got a large ovation when he was shown on the scoreboard during the fourth quarter. ... Stuckey leads the Eastern Conference with points off the bench, coming into the game at 15.9 points.