Pistons end Bulls' hopes for 72 wins


Grant Hill and Theo Ratliff work the pick-and-roll to perfection.
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All Bulls fans held their collective breath when Michael Jordan rolled his ankle.
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Box score | Game recap | Game Flow

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Terry Mills scored 29 points Sunday and Grant Hill notched a triple-double as the Detroit Pistons beat Chicago 108-91, ending the Bulls' hopes of repeating their NBA-record 72-win season.

Detroit snapped a 19-game losing streak to Chicago. Before Sunday, the last time Detroit beat Chicago was 101-99 on March 14, 1993 -- when Hill was a junior at Duke University.

The Pistons (52-26) also snapped a four-game skid overall and moved back into a tie with the Charlotte Hornets for fifth place in the Eastern Conference.

This season's leaders in triple-doubles:
Grant Hill 12
Mark Jackson 4
Anthony Mason 4
Clyde Drexler 3

Pistons coach Doug Collins, who coached the Bulls for three seasons, wept after the victory.

"I really don't know where to start, except to say that this is my proudest moment as a coach," Collins said. "Not because it was the Chicago Bulls and it was my former team, but because of what we have gone through here for a few weeks.

"I told the players their greatest compliment they could ever give their coach was to do what they did today -- to play with courage from start to finish," Collins said. "To withstand anything Chicago threw at us, play with poise and confidence, and play together as we've done all season long."

The Bulls (68-11) are now unable to match their 72-win total of last season, but can still record consecutive 70-win seasons with two triumphs in their final three games.

"At the beginning of the season, I felt that getting to 70 would be tough for us," Chicago's Michael Jordan said. "Honestly, I expected to lose maybe six or eight more games than we did last year. Yet here we are and we've still got a shot at winning 70."

Scottie Pippen scored 21 points and Jordan added 18 for Chicago.

Hill finished with 27 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. He has five triple-doubles in the past eight games, 12 for the season and 23 for his career.

Grant Hill

Terry Mills

"One of the things the coaches talked about after the Charlotte loss (Friday) was that as bad as we've played the last four weeks, we're still in the playoffs, still in the thick of things," Hill said. "Because we started off so well, we had a cushion. We've gone through our worst stretch and we're still in the playofs, and a lot of teams can't say that."

Mills knocked down a 3-pointer right before intermission to give the Pistons a 63-49 halftime lead.

The Bulls stormed back into the contest, drawing within 81-76 after a layup by Brian Williams late in the third quarter. Detroit answered with nine consecutive points and a 90-76 lead with 9:20 left in the game.

Detroit took its largest lead at 106-86 with 3:31 to play after a basket by Mills.

Otis Thorpe finished with 14 points and Joe Dumars and Lindsey Hunter added 10 apiece. The Pistons shot 51 percent (44 for 87) from the field and hit eight of 20 from 3-point ranges. Detroit committed only eight turnovers.

Jason Caffey contributed 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulls, who shot 46 percent (38 for 83) from the floor. Jordan also had nine rebounds and seven assists.

"They looked very aggressive offensively," Jordan said of the Pistons. "They ran the ball well. They crashed the boards, blocked a lot of shots. Their all-around play was very active today and that's why they won the game."

The Bulls -- already playing without the injured Dennis Rodman, Toni Kukoc and Bill Wennington -- endured a few scares Sunday:

  • Jordan rolled his ankle in the first half but was able to continue.
  • Pippen went to the dressing room late in the third quarter with a hand injury, but he returned with 10:10 left in the game.
  • Williams rolled his ankle with 8:27 left and had to leave the game.

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