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Reggie Bullock shines as he takes Stanley Johnson's place in rotation

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Bullock was key to Pistons' victory while Johnson got a DNP-Coach's Decision.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Pistons needed a jolt. They were coming off a lethargic performance against the Miami Heat, and still needed to put in work to make the playoffs.

While Reggie Jackson did his typical fourth-quarter thing in the team's 108-104 win against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday, it never would have been that close if not for the other Reggie - little-used Reggie Bullock.

Bullock took the place of rookie Stanley Johnson as the first guard off the bench, and he delivered big time to the tune of 13 points, six assists, zero turnovers and three made 3-pointers.

"Reggie was terrific," said Stan Van Gundy. "He's a good shooter, but he also doesn't make a lot of mistakes."

Bullock said his success is mostly about one thing - having confidence in himself no matter if he is in the rotation or out of the rotation.

"Everyone's a good player here," Bullock said. "I just tried to stay ready when my number is called."

Van Gundy admitted that at this point, the move was a no-brainer, and one he said his assistants had been pushing for.

The bench unit was its best with Bullock in the lineup in place of the then-injured Johnson, and Johnson has been awful since returning from his shoulder injury.

Since returning to the lineup, Johnson is shooting 28 percent from the field and averaging more turnovers than assists. He also looks very much like a rookie, and with his shot not falling, he looks unsure what to do with the ball in his hands, leading to poor decisions and ugly, costly turnovers.

"Stanley's just really been struggling, and because he's struggling, he's been pressing a bit," Van Gundy said.

Whether it's about hitting the rookie wall, something health-related, or just not getting back into a groove after missing several weeks, it was time to make the change.

Bullock appreciates the praise from his coach, but more importantly, he said, he appreciates the faith his coach has in him.

"It was a tough year for me in Phoenix and L.A.," Bullock said after the game. "Just coming here and having a coach building confidence in me and learning to trust me is good to have."

While Van Gundy didn't say whether this change in the rotation was permanent, he did tell Johnson before the game Bullock would play ahead of him. He also told the rookie to stay ready.

Bullock stayed ready, took advantage and helped his team get a needed victory. And now the team, with a magic number of one, is one step closer to the playoffs.