CHICAGO (AFP) –
Derrick Rose scored 24 points, including a 3-pointer to force the game into overtime, and Joakim Noah added 20 points and 17 rebounds as the NBA-leading Chicago Bulls defeated Detroit 100-94.
Rodney Stuckey, who scored a game-high 32 points for Detroit, missed three free throws late in the fourth quarter to keep Chicago within reach and Rose hit a 3-pointer with six seconds left to send the game into an extra period.
Noah dominated in overtime with baskets and assists, and Chicago closed the game with a 12-5 run for the victory, improving their NBA-best record to 46-14 while the Pistons, eliminated from the playoffs, fell to 22-38.
Only Miami can deny the Bulls the best regular-season record in the Eastern Conference and only the Heat, San Antonio and Oklahoma City can stop the Bulls from having the best overall record and a home-court edge throughout the playoffs.
A Noah tip-in and assist on a Carlos Boozer layup put the Bulls ahead 92-89 in overtime before Stuckey drove for a layup to pull Detroit within 92-91 with 1:43 to play.
Chicago’s Kyle Korver hit a 3-pointer off a pass from Noah to put the Bulls ahead 95-91 with 85 seconds to play and Noah followed with a layup for a 97-91 Bulls’ edge with 29 seconds remaining.
Stuckey followed with a 3-pointer for Detroit eight seconds later, but the Bulls — unlike Stuckey — sank three free throws in the final seconds to secure the triumph.
Stuckey made only 1-of-2 free throws to break a tie at 81-81 in the fourth quarter and teammate Greg Monroe’s layup with 1:11 remaining to give the Pistons an 84-81 lead.
Boozer answered with a baseline jumper for Chicago just 15 seconds later to lift the Bulls within 84-83, and Tayshaun Prince and Monroe missed shots before Chicago rebounded with 34 seconds remaining.
Two fouls by Rose on Stuckey to stop the clock saw Stuckey make only 1-of-2 from the line each time, leaving Detroit ahead only 86-83 and Chicago close enough to equalize, which they did on Rose’s clutch 3-pointer.