Chicago 98, Detroit 80

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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Ron Harper drilled a pair of 3-pointers during a third-quarter run Friday night as the Chicago Bulls matched the best start in franchise history with a 98-80 victory over the Detroit Pistons in a battle of Central Division unbeatens.

Hill & Jordan
Michael Jordan attempts to block a Grant Hill jumper.
Toni Kukoc, Scottie Pippen and Luc Longley scored 16 points apiece and Michael Jordan added 15 points and eight assists for the Bulls, who are 5-0 for the second time in as many seasons.

Chicago also extended its winning streak over the Pistons to 17 games, including nine in a row at the Palace in Auburn Hills.

"We're like two ships passing in the night," Jordan said. "They're trying to head back in the direction where we are. A game like this is a learning experience for them.

"They never got a chance to establish an inside game. That puts a lot of pressure on Grant Hill and Joe Dumars; that's where they miss Allan Houston at the No. 2 guard."

It was the first time since Nov. 9, 1984, that two 4-0 teams met and just the sixth time in NBA history such a matchup has occurred.

Dennis Rodman pulled down 20 rebounds, including six on the offensive end, as Chicago outrebounded the Pistons 46-33.

"Obviously we were overmatched in a lot of different ways," Pistons coach Doug Collins said. "It was sort of a miracle that we were down seven at half.

"They're a great team," Collins said of the Bulls. "They could be one of the greatest all-time teams, if not the greatest."

Dumars hit six of seven from 3-point range and scored 22 points for Detroit (4-1). Hill, who sat out Wednesday's game with a wrist injury, added 21 for the Pistons.

"We've got our work cut out for us. We did not play well as a team tonight," Hill said. "They took us out of our game.

"A loss by 18 is the same as a loss by one point, so we can't let that get us down. Our goal is still the same -- we want to improve as a team and compete in this league."

Otis Thorpe pulled Detroit within 49-47 on a hook shot 56 seconds into the second half. But the Bulls responded with a 14-3 spurt. Harper opened it with a 3-pointer and Jordan knocked down a jumper to make it 54-47 with 10:13 left in the third quarter.

Rick Mahorn responded with a basket, but Harper drilled another 3-pointer to extend the Bulls' lead to 57-49 with 9:30 to go. Robert Parish hit a jumper and a putback before Steve Kerr capped the run with a 3-pointer to give Chicago a 64-49 advantage with 5:18 left.

Detroit got no closer than 10 points the rest of the way.

Kerr finished with 12 points and Harper had eight for the Bulls, who shot 49.3 percent from the field (36 for 73) and nine for 24 from 3-point range.

Chicago outscored Detroit at the foul line 17-8. It was the first time Jordan did not lead the Bulls in scoring this season and the second straight game in which Rodman has pulled down at least 20 rebounds.

"My offense wasn't real good tonight so I concentrated on pushing the ball up the court," said Jordan, who shot six for 14 from the field. "Detroit plays a tough defense, but we were very patient against it. You have to take what they give you."

The Bulls' reserves outscored Detroit's bench 37-17. Grant Long and Stacey Augmon had eight points apiece for the Pistons, who shot just 42.7 percent from the field (32 for 75), but made eight of 15 3-pointers.

Detroit had no fast-break points.

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