The Pistons went into Chicago and fought through a rough performance from Andre Drummond (11 points, 11 rebounds, but 1-10 from the free-throw line) and a brilliant performance from Jimmy Butler (28 points, 17 rebounds, 12 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks, stopped my heart at least once) to take the win, 94-90.
Stan Van Gundy said before the game this would be the "Biggest game of the year." He was right; this game had the feel of a playoff game. It might well have been an elimination game for the Bulls, who remain 2.5 games behind the Pistons for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference without the benefit of the tiebreaker.
All five starters scored in double-digits for the Pistons, but what was even better was the guys working together to force tough shots out of the Bulls possession after possession down the stretch. Marcus Morris suffocated Jimmy Butler and Aron Baynes - substituted in after Fred Hoiberg went to the Bang-A-Drum - kept Pau Gasol from facilitating for Chicago.
Reggie Jackson also was clutch down the stretch, making four big free throws to close the game.
The game, according to Twitter:
.@MookMorris2 3-point shot travels. Hits his first. But Gasol rolling early with 7, Bulls lead 11-8— Keith Langlois (@Keith_Langlois) April 3, 2016
Brief Pistons surge and they take 70-65 lead into the fourth. Blake and KCP triples. KCP also with a tough 18-footer to key run.— Vincent Ellis (@Vincent_Ellis56) April 3, 2016
Great push by Reggie Jackson, not many players push in that spot up 3 with 1 min left.— Haralabos Voulgaris (@haralabob) April 3, 2016
Pistons magic number for the playoffs is three over both the Bulls and the Wizards.— Dave Hogg (@Stareagle) April 3, 2016
"Our guys gutted it out pretty good. I was really proud of them tonight" - Stan Van Gundy on his squad.— Detroit Pistons (@DetroitPistons) April 3, 2016
Bulls players not named Jimmy Butler, Pau Gasol or Aaron Brooks scored 32 points tonight. All five Pistons starters in double figures.— Sean Highkin (@highkin) April 3, 2016
The Pistons get some well-deserved rest before their next game in Miami against the Heat Tuesday (In case you were curious, Chicago gets no such reprieve; they travel to Milwaukee to play tomorrow).