Augustin, Noah lead Bulls past Pistons 105-94
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — The Chicago Bulls didn’t get a great night from their starters Wednesday. Their backups made sure they didn’t need one.
Reserves D.J. Augustin and Taj Gibson combined for 48 points on 18-of-30 shooting as the Bulls beat the Detroit Pistons 105-94 for their fifth win in six games. The Bulls only led by one point going into the fourth, but Augustin and Gibson had 20 of Chicago’s 34 in the fourth.
“A lot of guys are stepping up on this team right now,” Gibson said. “Everyone is working hard and helping in whatever way we need. The guys are just focused on the team right now.”
Both coaches went with seven-man rotations for most of the game, but Chicago’s duo completely outmatched Rodney Stuckey and Will Bynum. They finished with 12 points on 5-of-20 shooting, including a 1-for-11 night from Bynum.
“Will played his heart out, just like he always does,” Pistons coach John Loyer said. “He gives us everything he’s got every night, but there are going to be some games where the ball just rolls off the rim. They’ve got two very good players coming off the bench — Gibson has done that all year for them and Augustin has been like that since he got to Chicago.”
Joakim Noah finished with 10 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists for his sixth career triple-double, including two in the last three games and three in the last month, while Jimmy Butler had 18 points and 12 rebounds.
“Jo’s our leader, and a triple-double is nothing to him,” Butler said. “We are starting to expect that from him. He does so many things well that it makes it easier for the rest of us.”
Greg Monroe led Detroit with 27 points, but the Pistons struggled all night to get anything going from the outside. They took 34 shots from outside the paint, and only hit nine (26.5 percent), including 2-of-11 on 3-pointers. In contrast, the Bulls hit 46.7 percent from outside.
“They hit shots, especially in the fourth quarter, and they picked up their intensity on defense,” Loyer said. “We didn’t match that, and when you do that against a playoff team, you aren’t going to win many games.”
Detroit led for most of the second quarter, but appeared to get rattled by an official’s decision. Smith was driving for a layup that would have made it 43-34, but the shot was blocked by Mike Dunleavy. Smith didn’t get back on defense, staying near the basket to argue the call, and Jimmy Butler got an easy alley-oop dunk at the other end.
Smith was then called for a technical, and Augustin hit the free throw to make it a four-point game.
Chicago scored the next four points to tie the game, and a technical called on Loyer with 3.7 seconds left in the half helped the Bulls take a 52-47 lead at the intermission.
The Pistons narrowed the gap to 71-70 in the third quarter, but Augustin and Gibson kept scoring off the bench to help Chicago stay in front. Augustin’s three-point play early in the fourth keyed an 11-2 run to start the period, putting the Bulls up by 10.
“We talk about how we want to finish games, and we were real strong coming out for the fourth,” Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau said. “Our defense was strong, and our ball movement was good. Hitting the open guy makes a big difference.”
Augustin wasn’t finished, either. His 3-pointer gave the Bulls a 15-point lead with six minutes to go, and the Pistons never threatened down the stretch.
“They just outplayed us in the fourth quarter,” Andre Drummond said. “They are a very disciplined team that prides itself on defense. We hung with them for three quarters, but they ran their offense in the fourth quarter and outexecuted us.”
TRAIL BLAZERS 102, HAWKS 78
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Nicolas Batum had 14 points and a career-high 18 rebounds and the Portland Trail Blazers routed Atlanta 102-78, a loss that marked the end of Hawks guard Kyle Korver’s NBA-record streak of 127 games with a 3-pointer.
Korver had surpassed Dana Barros’ record of 89 straight, set from 1994-96, earlier this season. He was 0 for 5 from 3-point range against the Blazers.
Mo Williams added 15 points off the bench for Portland, which had six players in double figures. Portland, which led by as many as 29 points, has won six of its last seven games while keeping pace as one of the teams battling for the top four seeds in the West.
Cartier Martin had 16 points off the bench for the Hawks, who have lost four straight and 12 of their last 13 as they fight to stay in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
BOBCATS 109, PACERS 87
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Al Jefferson scored 34 points in Charlotte’s victory over the Indiana Pacers that gave the Bobcats their fifth straight home win.
Jefferson was 16 of 25 from the field and had eight rebounds for the Bobcats (28-33), who equaled their combined win total from the previous two seasons.
Jefferson, whose 38-point, 19-rebound effort Monday night was overshadowed by LeBron James’ career-high 61-point outing, has scored at least 20 points in 21 of his last 24 games.
Charlotte became the first team since the 2009-10 Knicks to play the NBA’s top four teams in consecutive games. They previously lost to San Antonio, Oklahoma City and Miami on the road.
Evan Turner had 22 points for the Pacers (46-15), who lost back-to-back games for only the second time this season.
ROCKETS 101, MAGIC 89
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — James Harden scored 31 points, including 25 in the second half, and the Houston Rockets dug out of a double-digit, first-half hole to beat the Orlando Magic.
The Rockets dominated inside, outscoring the Magic 58-26 in the paint. Dwight Howard added 19 points and 14 rebounds in his second trip to Orlando to face his former team.
Houston trailed in the second quarter by as many as 14 points, but battled back to win for the 13th time in 15 outings.
Arron Afflalo led the Magic with 18 points. The Magic dropped to 0-2 this season against the Rockets. Orlando played without Jameer Nelson and Victor Oladipo. Nelson was out sick and Oladipo missed his first game of the season with soreness in his left ankle.
WARRIORS 108, CELTICS 88
BOSTON (AP) — Klay Thompson and David Lee scored 18 points each and the Golden State Warriors went a season-high 14 games over .500 with a romp over the Boston Celtics.
The Warriors scored the first six points, led 12-2 with just over five minutes gone and stayed ahead by at least 20 points throughout the second half.
Golden State had an easy time against one of the NBA’s worst teams one night after beating one of the best. Thompson’s 12-foot turnaround with six-tenths of a second left had given the Warriors a 98-96 win at the Indiana Pacers, the league’s top team at home.
Former Celtic Jordan Crawford had 15 points and Stephen Curry added 14 for the Warriors (38-24), who won for the seventh time in nine games.
Kelly Olynyk scored 19 points for Boston (20-41), which dropped its seventh game in its past eight.
WIZARDS 104, JAZZ 91
WASHINGTON (AP) — Trevor Ariza scored 26 points, Bradley Beal added 22, and the Washington Wizards took an early lead and never lost it, shooting 54 percent in a win over the Utah Jazz.
John Wall had 14 points and 10 assists, and Marcin Gortat had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Wizards, who have won seven of eight.
This one was noteworthy if only for substantial contributions from recent additions Drew Gooden and Andre Miller, two thirty-somethings who teamed up for a run that padded the lead in the first half.
Alec Burks scored 19 points, and Trey Burke added 14 to lead the Jazz, who have dropped the first four games of their six-game road trip. Their 7-24 road record is the worst in the Western Conference.
NETS 103, GRIZZLIES 94
NEW YORK (AP) — Joe Johnson scored 21 points, Marcus Thornton came off the bench for 20, and the Brooklyn Nets powered their way above .500 for the first time this season by beating the Memphis Grizzlies.
Deron Williams added 16 points and Paul Pierce 14 for the Nets (30-29), who have won four in a row overall and six straight at home in turning around a turbulent start. Jason Collins played 17 scoreless minutes on the day he signed his second 10-day contract.
The matchup between two of the NBA’s best teams in 2014 was a mismatch until the fourth quarter, when the Nets had already led by 30. Memphis fell to 21-9 since Jan. 1, while the Nets’ 20-8 record is tops among East teams.
Jon Leuer scored 19 and Marc Gasol 18 for the Grizzlies, who were without Zach Randolph because of the flu.
KNICKS 118, TIMBERWOLVES 106
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Carmelo Anthony scored 33 points to help the New York Knicks snap a seven-game losing streak with a victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Tyson Chandler had 15 points and 14 rebounds and Amare Stoudemire added 18 points and eight boards for the Knicks, who had not won since beating New Orleans on Feb. 19.
KINGS 116, BUCKS 102
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Isaiah Thomas scored 25 points and had six assists to lead the Sacramento Kings past the Milwaukee Bucks.
NUGGETS 115, MAVERICKS 110
DENVER (AP) — Wilson Chandler scored 21 points, Ty Lawson had 20, and the Denver Nuggets snapped a six-game losing streak by beating the Dallas Mavericks.
Kenneth Faried, Randy Foye and J.J. Hickson added 16 points apiece for the Nuggets, who have won all three meetings this season against Dallas. Hickson scored 12 of his points in the fourth quarter to help hold off the Mavericks, who play the Nuggets a final time this season in two weeks in Dallas.
Dirk Nowitzki had 27 points to lead the Mavericks, who lost their third in a row. It’s their first three-game losing streak of the season.
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