Zach LaVine put up 37 points, leading the Chicago Bulls past a 25-point first-half deficit, and a career-high 43 points from Jerami Grant, to top the Detroit Pistons in a nail-biter at home, 105-102.
Veteran Pistons forward Grant’s game included 19 fourth-quarter points. This marked the 6th time this season that Grant has scored 30 or more points in a single game. He had zero such career games entering this season.
He was the Pistons’ only source of offense for much of the fourth, keeping them in the game late.
Four other Pistons joined Grant with double-digit points. One of those four was Dennis Smith Jr., who came off the bench to score 10 points on 4-9 from the field. It marked his fourth game with the Pistons since being traded from the New York Knicks.
A disastrous second quarter left the Bulls at one point down 25 points. LaVine countered with a 24-point second half, including some fourth-quarter heroics.
The final frame was full of big shots by both teams. They combined to score 30 points in the final 3 minutes, but it was the Bulls that came away with the win.
Grant was scorching to begin the game, making 3 threes on the way to a 13 point first quarter.
With 1:29 left in the first, Thaddeus Young’s 7-foot floater cut the Bull’s deficit to just 6 points. That would be the last points the Bulls scored for the next 7:03 of game-time.
During that time, the Pistons shot off on a 14-0 run to grab a 20 point lead. Every point on the run came from Saddiq Bey, Smith Jr., and Josh Jackson.
The Pistons were able to hold on to their huge lead, going up 61-43 at the half. They shot 55.8% from the field and a scorching 53.8% from three, including four from Grant.
More than just red hot shooting led the Pistons to their big halftime lead. They played lockdown defense, holding the Bulls to just 21.4% from outside. The Pistons made sure to give Lavine a lot of attention, keeping him to only 13 points.
The third quarter, however, saw a drastic turnaround. Beginning with 2:02 left in the first half, the Bulls led a 17-2 run. On the run, they kept the Pistons scoreless for 5:48 of game time, cutting their deficit to just 3 points at the end of the third.
The game came down to a fourth quarter that was filled with clutch shot after clutch shot. Before Delon Wright’s miss at the buzzer, the final 15 possessions of the game all ended in points scored.
The most that either team led by in the fourth was only 5 points.
With 2:06 to go, Bey pulled the ball from his feet to hit his only three of the game. The shot gave him 12 points and answered a step-back three from LaVine.
LaVine was quick to strike with a double-clutch dunk, his 6th dunk of the game.
Grant responded with a tough fadeaway over LaVine.
With 1:17 left, Wright dished out the last of his team-high four assists. He found Grant for a driving layup to pull the Pistons within one.
The Pistons doubled LaVine near the logo on the other end, who made a tough pass out of it. The ball found Coby White for a corner three. Though it was only his third bucket of the game, there was never a better time for a make. 1:01 remaining, four point lead.
Grant did it himself on the other end, making a tough layup out of nothing. 44.3 second remaining, two point deficit.
The Bulls again swung the ball around, this time finding Patrick Williams for a corner three. The rookie delivered in the clutch with 28.8 seconds remaining and a 5 point lead.
From there the teams traded free throws, ending with LaVine at the line, 7.9 remaining. First one, up and good. Three point lead. Second one, around the rim and off.
Wright took in the length of the floor, using a pump-fake to shed White at the top of the key. Pulling his foot back behind the long line, he put up a three for the tie. Bouncing high off the front of the rim, the ball fell to the court, no good.
“Once he missed it, we just tried to get it up the court,” Wright told Keith Langlois. “No one looked open so I just tried to get the best shot, and it didn’t fall.”
The Pistons will continue their road trip in Memphis against the Grizzlies at 8 p.m. on Friday.
The Bulls will attempt to push their win streak to three games in Philadelphia against the 76ers on Friday at 7:30 p.m..