The Chicago Bulls defeated the Detroit Pistons on Sunday night to pull to within 2.5 games of the Indiana Pacers for the last play-in spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Bulls two best players stepped up when the team needed it most. Zach LaVine led the way with a game-high 30 points, while Nikola Vucevic pulled off yet another double-double, scoring 29 points and hauling in an incredible 16 rebounds.
Coby White also added 21 points for the Bulls.
The Pistons lost their ninth game in 11 tries and were without leading scorer Jerami Grant (knee) and point guard Cory Joseph (ankle). Detroit was led by Killian Hayes (21 points, 8 assists) and Saddiq Bey (20 points, 7 rebounds).
The Bulls had a great start in this one as they built a comfortable lead throughout the first half. Good defense was the name of the game as the Pistons struggled to get anything going from the field, shooting just 38% from the field in the opening 24 minutes.
The Bulls, on the other hand, shot 55% from the field in the first half led by LaVine and Vucevic combining for 30 points. In fact, Vucevic almost had a double-double in the first half alone, scoring 14 points and pulling in nine boards.
All this led to a 57-39 Bulls halftime lead.
The Pistons gave themselves a shot in the second half, shooting the ball significantly better (55%) from the field and cutting the lead to 12 towards the end of the third quarter.
But, the Bulls always had an answer as the Pistons never got to within single digits the rest of the way.
With the win, the Bulls moved to within 2.5 games of the Pacers for the last play-in spot in the Eastern Conference. If the Pacers lose on Monday night, that lead shrinks to two games and gives the Bulls a semi-realistic hope of achieving that 10-seed with just four games to go.
What’s On Tap?
The Bulls face the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night at the United Center. Tip-off is at 7:00 PM CDT and can be seen on NBC Sports Chicago.