Bulls find a way to hold off Rose, Pistons
This game will be remembered for another impressive return by Derrick Rose.
Playing for the third time as a visiting NBA player at the United Center, Rose delivered 23 points and 7 assists for the Detroit Pistons. The home fans cheered his every move and tossed out a few "MVP" chants. After the game, Rose met up with former Bulls teammate Joakim Noah outside the locker room.
But this game was also a welcome revival for a couple of Bulls. Otto Porter Jr. finally had a standout game, while Zach LaVine came through in crunchtime to give the Bulls a 112-106 victory on Friday.
Porter finished with 22 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists. At the start of the third quarter, Porter scored or assisted on 17 of the Bulls' first 20 points.
"I think my big thing was being aggressive and attacking downhill and trying to get to my spots," Porter said. "Eventually I knew it was going to come, but I didn't want to overreact. Just continue to work, continue to get to the gym and put some shots up. I know my work is going to pay off.
"This is my first healthy summer leading into the season in a long time, so I felt good about that. It was good to see one or two go in and the basket gets a little bit bigger and hopefully it got bigger for my teammates."
Coach Jim Boylen said the Bulls made a conscious effort to get Porter going in the third quarter. Since arriving in a trade from Washington last season, the Bulls have been counting on the veteran forward to be one of their main players, but he's been quiet so far.
"We went to him," LaVine said. "I got off the ball, I went to the corner to space the floor for him and let him make plays. Hopefully this game helps him find his rhythm. We know how good he is."
The Bulls (2-4) led by as many as 16 points, but hanging onto leads has been a problem. The Pistons roared back to take a brief 100-99 lead on Tony Snell's reverse scoop with 3:43 remaining. LaVine answered by knocking down 3-pointers on the next two possessions to put the Bulls ahead to stay.
LaVine led the Bulls with 26 points, while center Wendell Carter Jr. added 16 points and 11 rebounds.
LaVine knows he's expected to be the team's late-game scorer, so the blown leads didn't sit well.
"I take the open shot. I know I can make them. I practice them," LaVine said. "I hit a couple against Memphis late game. Somebody's got to step up to the plate. I think I'm that dude. I practice those shots, I'm not scared of it. So I'm glad that I made them and we won this game. We needed a win at home."
Lauri Markkanen (14 points) left the game early in the fourth quarter. He walked gingerly to the bench, favoring his side, then went to the locker room for a few minutes. He was back on the bench when the game ended and said he could have played if needed.
"I'm good. I'm going to be all right," Markkanen said. "I don't really know what happened. I don't remember any specific play. It's my (left) side."
After being outrebounded by 40 in the previous two games, the Bulls did a little better. Detroit (2-4) won the boards 47-42 as center Andre Drummond finished with 25 points and 24 rebounds.