Pistons' bench rises to help grab victory over Bulls
Auburn Hills — On '70s Night before a huge crowd at The Palace, Gloria Gaynor belted out her hit "I Will Survive" at halftime.
It became something of the Pistons' anthem in the second half of a seesaw matchup against the Chicago Bulls. After leading by double digits in the first half and falling behind by 19 in the third quarter, the Pistons found a mantra, behind some unlikely bench contributions.
The fourth-quarter surge helped them salvage a 107-91 victory over the Bulls on Saturday night before a packed house of 20,347 and get some momentum after a stretch of 11 losses in their last 12 games.
In keeping with the '70s theme, the Pistons hearkened back to a heavy-offense, defense-optional style in the first half, opening with 30 points in the first quarter and giving up 36 in the second period. They overcame the third-quarter deficit with a 63-35 margin in the second half.
Reggie Jackson scored 17 of his 22 points in the third quarter and added 11 assists and Caron Butler had 20 points — and both rested the entire fourth quarter, while the bench outscored the Bulls, 27-12.
Rookie Spencer Dinwiddie had his first career double-double with 10 points and 10 assists and Joel Anthony six points, six rebounds and four blocks off the bench.
"We got phenomenal play out of our point guards in the second half. Reggie's third quarter was incredible: 17 points and seven assists and then Spence goes and gets 10 in the fourth and ends up 10 assists, so we got 22 assists and two turnovers out of our point guards.
"It was a tremendous night where everybody who played made big contributions."
Butler had 13 points in the first quarter, hitting 3-of-5 on 3-pointers, but the defense struggled in the second period, allowing the Bulls to shoot 80 percent (12-of-15) from the field and get a 13-2 rebounding margin.
Chicago had a 56-44 halftime lead, but the Pistons turned up the defense in the second half.
"We turned it around on defense, getting stops and tried to limit their scoring in the paint and knocking down threes," said Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who had 15 points. "We came out great in the second half."
The Bulls' lead ballooned to 72-53 with 7:02 left in the third, but another triple by Butler started a 14-0 spurt, with six points by Jackson and ended with a 3-pointer by Caldwell-Pope.
"We gave up a three and it snowballed from there. I thought we did a lot of good things to build a lead," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "You can't let your guard down in this league — particularly against a team that is going to shoot threes the way they're going to shoot threes. They can make up ground quickly — and they did. It's disappointing."
Pau Gasol (27 points, 10 rebounds) had 15 of the Bulls' 23 points in the quarter but the Pistons didn't allow a field goal in the last 2:22 of the period with solid defense.
In the fourth, Chicago tied it at 83 on a jumper by Kirk Hinrich, but the Pistons answered with a 17-0 run behind their bench, including all 10 of Dinwiddie's points and six assists.
"I got a rhythm and guys hit shots," Dinwiddie said. "When you make passes and shots go in, it looks a lot better."
During the run, Dinwiddie had a three-point play and Caldwell-Pope followed with a triple. Dinwiddie had another jumper before Jodie Meeks (12 points) hit a pair of baskets. Dinwiddie followed with a triple and Tayshaun Prince's jumper finished the run, for a 100-83 lead.
The Bulls, who dominated the second quarter, didn't mount much offense in the final period, managing just 14 points.
"It was really incredible. We had the really good third quarter and then that group played so well in the fourth, after Reggie had that incredible third quarter and we didn't even go back to him," Van Gundy said. "They had it rolling; there was no reason to make a change at that point and they finished the game really, really well."