CHICAGO – Nikola Vučević scored 22 points, DeMar DeRozan had 20 points and 12 rebounds, and the Chicago Bulls led the Detroit Pistons 133-87 Tuesday night.
DeRozan sat for most of the last 16 minutes, but still added seven assists. Eastern Conference leader Chicago won after its season-best winning streak in nine games ended Sunday in Dallas.
“In the second half, we figured out how we should have started the match,” DeRozan said.
Josh Jackson scored 16 points and Saddiq Bey added 14 to the Pistons, who had won two in a row.
The Bulls led 61-52 at the break and quickly turned it into a blowout by starting the second half on a 17-0 run that included four straight 3-pointers – two each from Derrick Jones Jr. and Vučević.
Vučević missed five of his first six shots, but ended the night 10 for 18 from the floor. He was 7 for 9 in the third.
‘He’s a guy who can correct course. He’s just figuring things out, coach Billy Donovan said. “In the third quarter, you saw like his whole package.”
The Pistons helped dig the hole by missing their first seven shots and flipping the ball three times over the four-minute stretch.
Detroit reached just 14 points in the third quarter and was 97-66 behind when it finished.
Lonzo Ball added 18 points and Zach LaVine had 10 points and nine rebounds as Chicago picked up its ninth home win in a row. The Bulls also rested their regular players in the final period to prepare for a two-game stretch that includes visits from Brooklyn – their closest pursuer in the East – and Golden State.
The latter match has been aired for a national broadcast, after Chicago began the season with only a handful of such dates.
“You’re doing your job right, you’re getting a pay raise,” DeRozan said of the growing attention. ‘You have to put yourself in a position where you need to be seen. I feel that is where we are. ‘
The Bulls took the lead for good early in the second quarter with a 9-2 run that included a couple of baskets by DeRozan. He had 14 points in the first half.
DeRozan’s lone triple-double came during the 2018-19 season with San Antonio.
Detroit’s Cade Cunningham, the top pick in last year’s draft, scored career-best 29 points a night earlier but had a difficult Tuesday. He spent the final six minutes of the opening half on the bench after picking up his third personal error and finished the night with eight points on 3-of-11 shots and six turnovers.
Detroit coach Dwane Casey was back on the bench Tuesday night, one night after watching the team’s win over Utah on television. Casey said a COVID-19 test Sunday morning came back positive, but two subsequent tests – one Sunday, another yesterday – were negative.
“I think it was a false positive,” said Casey, who added that he has received all the recommended vaccinations and is taking special precautions due to his asthma. ‘I tell everyone, get vaccinated and get boosted.’
Pistons: Casey said he expects newly acquired C Bol Bol to start training on Wednesday, two days after the team swapped Rodney McGruder and a second-round pick in the upcoming draft for Denver. Coach did not have schedules for Jerami Grant (right thumb) or Kelly Olynyk (left knee) to return.
Bulls: G Alex Caruso missed his ninth game in a row and third since joining the NBA’s COVID-19 protocol. Donovan said Caruso is ‘progressing and moving in the right direction’, but would not say when the team will expect him back on the pitch. Caruso missed the first six games as he recovered from a sprained left foot. … Chicago has won 10 meetings in a row with Detroit.
Pistons: Welcome to Toronto on Friday.
Bulls: Hosted Brooklyn on Tuesday.
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