AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — On the back of Joakim Noah, the Chicago Bulls got back on the winning track Wednesday night with a 105-94 win over the Detroit Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
Noah recorded a triple-double with 10 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists — his second in three games and third of the season — and Jimmy Butler recorded a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds. D.J. Augustin led Chicago with 26 points off the bench, going 10-for-10 at the free-throw line.
The Bulls led 71-70 after three quarters, but an early spurt in the fourth quarter pushed the lead to double-digits, and they didn’t look back. The 53.8 field-goal percentage was a season-high for Chicago.
“We’re really good when we’re clicking, finding the open guys, getting into the open floor,” Butler said. “That’s the kind of basketball we can play.”
In a battle of two of the top frontcourts in the NBA, the Bulls outrebounded the Pistons 43-32. It was a point of emphasis going into the game, and Chicago was able to grab eight offensive rebounds.
“It’s one of their strengths,” head coach Tom Thibodeau said. “That size up front is a lot to deal with. You not only need your bigs in there rebounding, but Jimmy coming up with 12 was huge for us. You have to gang rebound against them.”
The Bulls jumped out to an early 14-7 lead, but the Pistons started getting the ball inside and found success, going on a 24-5 run into the second quarter to take a 31-19 lead. Detroit finished with a 60-44 edge in points in the paint.
But Chicago closed the half on an 18-6 run, helped by a Josh Smith technical foul, to take a 52-47 lead into the locker room at halftime. Taj Gibson scored 14 of his 22 points in the quarter.
Thibodeau said at Wednesday’s shootaround that it doesn’t take long for Gibson to get in a flow, so he’s been valuable in a bench role.
“I’m just having fun and doing what the team needs me to do,” Gibson said. “I’m just ready. (Thibodeau) tells me to be ready to come in and just attack. That’s what he wants me to do. He always tells me, ‘No one can guard you.’ I just have that belief. I just go out there and attack.”
Leading 71-70, the Bulls opened the fourth on an 11-2 run in less than four minutes to push the lead to double-digits and pull away down the stretch. In the fourth quarter alone, Noah scored eight points and recorded five assists and three rebounds to get the triple-double.
“I think that’s one of our strengths, our will (to finish),” Noah said. “I think that there’s always adversity in a game. It’s all about how you handle those things. We’re one of the better teams when it comes to that.”
Noah was wearing a brace on his thumb after the game after bending it backward during play. He didn’t want to talk about it much, but said he would see how it feels Thursday morning and doesn’t expect to miss any time.