Pistons still can't solve Bulls


Doug Collins says the Pistons have to get physical to beat the Bulls.
Audio 230k wav

Toni Kukoc grabs the offensive rebound and nets the reverse lay-in.
Video 354k avi

Kukoc gets rejected by Grant Hill, but Scottie Pippen grabs the board and slams it.
Video 638k avi

Hill drives the lane for the powerful dunk.
Video 317k avi

Pippen seals the win with a breakaway flush.
Video 227k avi

Box score | Game recap | Game flow

CHICAGO -- Scottie Pippen scored 27 points and Michael Jordan added 23 as the Chicago Bulls defeated the Detroit Pistons for the 18th straight time 95-83 in a meeting of the top two teams in the Central Division.

Scottie Pippen
Dennis Rodman had 11 points, 22 rebounds and seven assists for the Bulls, who improved to 12-1 at home and won for the seventh time in eight games against divisional opponents.

"They feel like one day they're going to get over the hill, but it's great for us to keep them down," Pippen said. "I like to keep that doubt in their minds," he said. "Right now, they don't have the weapons to overcome our club."

Grant Hill scored 27 points while Lindsey Hunter and Otis Thorpe added 17 apiece for the Pistons, who have not defeated Chicago since March 14th, 1993. Grant Long grabbed 11 rebounds for Detroit, which fell four games behind the first-place Bulls, despite owning the league's third-best record.

"We just want to maintain the dominance we've had over this team," Jordan said. "Detroit was a nemesis to myself and Scottie early in our careers and we have no trouble getting focused to play against them."

Thorpe and Hill began the game with consecutive field goals to give Detroit an early lead, but Chicago scored 11 straight points and never trailed the rest of the way. Toni Kukoc, who had 14 points and eight assists, made a layup to give the Bulls an 11-4 lead with 7:58 left in the first quarter.

"That was a long game tonight, it seemed to go on forever," Chicago coach Phil Jackson said. "We were able to maintain the momentum and play the style of the game we wanted. We knew it would be a slow-down game. Because of the pace Michael wouldn't let me take him out. I thought Scotty did a wonderful job defending Grant Hill and Dennis did a great job of controlling the boards and shutting down the middle as well. He was outstanding."

Pippen had a dunk to cap a 13-0 burst, extending the Bulls' advantage to 41-27 with 6:20 left in the second. Pippen had 16 points and Jordan added 12 as Chicago held a 49-37 lead at halftime.

"I felt that we were tentative," Pistons coach Doug Collins said. "I said to our guys, 'When you play Chicago, you have to meet the tenacity with which they play.' We didn't."

Pippen's jumper gave the Bulls their biggest lead, 62-44, with 7:38 remaining in the third.

"I thought we did a good job against Chicago," said Collins, who has lost all six meetings against his former team. "Obviously they have a little more firepower than we do and I'm glad that Michael, Scotty, and Kukoc had to play the whole game in order to beat us. Three-point shooting is something that we lead the league in and tonight our shot wasn't there and they did a good job of defending it. They're the world champions, they showed that tonight. They were in control the game was never in doubt."

Hunter nailed a three-pointer to cap a 7-0 spurt as the Pistons cut the deficit to 80-72 with 8:21 remaining in the fourth. But Kukoc answered with a three-pointer to trigger a 9-2 spurt. Jordan converted a three-point play to cap the run for an 89-74 cushion with 6:43 left.

"It's frustrating. Since I've been in the league, we've beaten every team but this one," Hill said. "It is definitely going to be our measuring stick."

Copyright 1996-1997 Starwave Corporation and ESPN Inc. All rights reserved. Duplicated and redistributed without permission.